After one year of academic probation, UNC-Chapel Hill has been returned to good standing by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, university Chancellor Carol Folt announced on Thursday.
North Carolina’s flagship university was penalized by SACS-COC for using fake “paper classes” to help 3,100 students — most of them athletes — achieve passing course grades illegitimately over an 18-year period.
The fake classes began in 1993 following complaints that athletes’ course loads were too demanding, and continued until 2011, when news reports confirmed the scandal. Debbie Crowder, assistant to the head of the Department of African and Afro-American studies Julius Nyang’oro, was found responsible for orchestrating the scam during a 2014 investigation conducted by former U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein.
That investigation led SACS-COC to review UNC-Chapel Hill on questions of compliance regarding 18 accreditation standards. The accreditation board found seven shortcomings: overall integrity; program content; control of intercollegiate athletics; academic support services; academic freedom; faculty role in governance; and compliance with provisions in federal financial aid law.
In a video sent to UNC-Chapel Hill Twitter followers on Thursday, Folt addressed the SACS-COC’s termination of probationary measures, assuring the public that the university’s integrity and academic diligence are fully intact.
“As many of you know, we have been working closely with our accreditation board to address the academic irregularities that ended in 2011,” Folt said. “Our work has involved answering questions, and providing thousands of pages of background materials on reforms and actions, and hosting visits of the members of the accreditation board.”
“Our work to reach this point today has been extensive,” she added. “The commitment of our campus has been, truly, a Carolina-wide commitment to getting it right. Because of all of you, we’ve demonstrated to SACS-COC that the reforms and initiatives we instituted are working, and working well.”
To read more about the background and impacts of UNC’s academic scandal, follow this link.