UNC students hold forum on Wainstein report

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's been more than a week since Kenneth Wainstein released his more than 130-page report uncovering 18 years of academic fraud at the University of North Carolina. As the university now deals with the aftermath and awaits a decision from the NCAA, students are talking among themselves about the report.

In a student forum hosted by Student Body President Andrew Powell, students and student athletes talked about the report.

"We're tired of everybody talking about us," said UNC football player, and double major, Jarrod James.

He was among several students and student athletes in Carroll Hall, who took turns sounding off about the report and defending the athletes of today, especially on his team.

"Some guys are head scholars on our team and some guys have to work extra hard just to make whatever grades they make, but at the end of the day they're still at this university because they have the ability to be at this university," said James.

In those 18 years, the report showed 3,100 students were enrolled in paper classes, many of them were athletes. Those classes required little to no work. Over the span of almost two decades, the report showed athletes were steered toward those classes to boost their grades and eligibility.

Those classes were in the other side of the spotlight of this report, the African Studies Department, or AFAM. Students on the outside are now asking what about other departments?

"As a student here and having done my undergraduate degree here, I know that this isn't germane to just the AFAM department," said one student.

Concerns about that flew around the room as well as how long the Wainstein report will hang a dark cloud over the university. Chancellor Carol Folt was in the crowd, listening, and stepped up to the mic at the end of the forum. She told the students that behind the scenes she and other administrators are dealing with many of the concerns brought up at Thursday night's forum. However, she reassured them that athletes, students within AFAM, and all students will move on from this and come out better from this experience.

"Your Carolina degree is as strong and powerful now as it was the day before the Wainstein report and,in fact, if we act with courage and conviction, it's going to be even stronger," said Folt.

While they wade through just week one of the Wainstein report aftermath, many agree that the next big wave the university is anticipating is the decision from the NCAA.

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