UNC seek dismissal of lawsuit by ABC11, other media, to get names of disciplined employees

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Saturday, December 6, 2014
UNC investigation

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Officials with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill are trying to halt a lawsuit that ABC11, and 10 other media outlets, are involved with.

Click here to read the lawsuit (.pdf)

Late Friday afternoon, the university filed a motion to dismiss in a Wake County courtroom.

The lawsuit is to compel UNC Chapel Hill to release the names of employees that were disciplined in the wake of Kenneth Wainstein's report on academic fraud at the school.

UNC spent more than $3 million on the 130-page report which showed a pattern of fraud that spanned 18 years.

The report showed 3,100 students were enrolled in so-called "paper classes" with the African and Afro-American Studies department that required little or no work. Investigators said student athletes were steered toward those classes to boost their grades and eligibility.

Following the release of the report, UNC said nine employees had been fired or disciplined, but declined to name them citing employee confidentiality.

In its lawsuit, ABC11 and the other plaintiffs argued that North Carolina's open records law calls for the date and reason for any suspension or dismissal of a state employee be available for public "when such department head shall determine that the release of such information or the inspection and examination of such file or portion thereof is essential to maintaining the integrity of such department or to maintaining the level or quality of services provided by such department."

The university argues, among other things, that personnel files of state employees are not subject to the public records law.

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