S. Patrick Byler: Too early on UNC

February 2, 2014 

Why is it that The N&O seems intent on bringing down a great institution like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill? The Jan. 24 editorial “Folt’s test” is another example. The editorial focused on how unfairly university staff member Mary Willingham has been treated.

The editorial called Willingham a “courageous staff member” and also said, “For her trouble, Willingham and her research about poor reading skills by some athletes was slammed in a faculty meeting.” It even suggests that, “Folt should meet with Willingham publicly and thank her for what she has done. And (Provost Jim) Dean should consider an apology.” Dean, among others, had harsh comments about Willingham’s research. After an analysis of Willingham’s data, he and others have indicated that research was seriously flawed regarding the reading skills of certain athletes at UNC.

Yet, you do not even seriously consider this analysis or Dean’s opinion on the issue. Instead, you suggest he “consider an apology” for Willingham. Seems to me that The N&O should not take sides until all the analysis is complete.

S. Patrick Byler


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