Kenneth Wainstein, the special investigator of UNC-Chapel Hill’s scandal surrounding “no-show” and “paper” classes, has issued his 131-page report.
There’s a lot in it. “No show” classes (no instruction, no attendance, with only final papers required and those graded by a non-faculty employee) were apparently the result of a sympathetic effort on the part of two people: Julian Nyang’oro, who headed the curriculum that became the African and Afro-American Studies Department, and his assistant, Deborah Crowder. The classes were designed to help struggling students, and they went on for 18 years.
“Between 1993 and 2011, Crowder and Nyang’oro developed and ran a ’shadow curriculum’ within the AFAM Department that provided students with academically flawed instruction through the offering of ‘paper classes,’” says the report. More than 3,100 students took those classes.
Grades were high, and those grades were critical to some athletes who had to maintain a 2.0 average in order to remain eligible for athletics. Wainstein says that during that period, “paper class” grades gave 81 students the margin that enabled them to graduate.
The classes were clearly known to the football coaching staff. A smoking gun was found. In 2009, when Crowder was about to retire, two members of the academic counseling service warned all the football coaches, in a meeting, that “part of the solution of the past” was ending.
Wainstein reproduces a PowerPoint slide that said:
–They didn’t go to class
–They didn’t take notes, have to say awake
–They didn’t have to meet with professors
–They didn’t have to pay attention or necessarily engage with the material
“THESE NO LONGER EXIST!” said the slide.
At times Nyang’oro was “teaching” 300 students a year in “independent studies.” Yet only one dean even noticed. She told him to reduce the number, which he did.
“Despite the fact that these classes involved thousands of student and cooperation between Crowder and numerous University employees, the Chapel Hill administration never scrutinized AFAM’s operations or the academic integrity of their course offerings,“ Wainstein writes.
Much will be said and written about this report over the next few days. To me, that last sentence is the most important. The administration never “scrutinized AFAM’s operations or the academic integrity of their course offerings.“ So much for shared governance. Or for any governance at all.
You can read the report for yourself (thank you, Jenna Robinson) here.