How much more at UNC-Chapel Hill

July 24, 2013 

As chairwoman of the Faculty Council at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one would think Jan Boxill’s first concern in view of the disgraceful scandals in athletics and parts of the academic side of the university would be academic integrity.

Indeed, over the past three years, much embarrassing and disturbing information has surfaced about the behavior of football players, contacts with agents, an academic support system geared toward maintaining eligibility and not ensuring academic integrity and a humiliating exposure of bogus courses in the African studies department.

But, as The News & Observer’s Dan Kane reported Sunday, Boxill appears, in newly released correspondence, to have wanted a report on academic fraud written by three faculty members not to go too hard on the university for fear it might prompt further interest from the NCAA, college athletics’ governing body. Boxill wrote the authors that she was concerned about emphasis on the bogus classes.

The NCAA doesn’t usually get involved in academic fraud investigations unless it appears there has been an intention to help athletes in ways above other students. That seems to be what Boxill was concerned about. UNC officials rationalized that there was not an athletics-academic connection with the bogus courses because other students took them as well.

Boxill, of course, should not have been involved in shading the report. The philosophy department lecturer would not comment to The News & Observer.

In one email to those who wrote the report, she explained she wanted to talk because she didn’t want her email comments “to show up in the N&O.”

The university’s response to the problems in the football program, and the ensuing revelations about academic counseling and those phony courses all have contributed to ongoing embarrassment for a university that once prided itself on its academic and athletics integrity.

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