Regarding the May 21 Luke DeCock sports column “Auburn scandal foretold UNC mess”: It is infuriating to listen to former UNC chancellor James Moeser continue to peddle the convenient fiction that UNC-Chapel Hill “didn’t have processes in place or an ability to really dig deeply enough” to uncover our massive academic fraud.
Copious documentation confirms that officials were handed many opportunities to disrupt the paper class scheme. By 2006, Bobbi Owen, former senior associate dean for undergraduate education, surely recognized that UNC was operating a huge independent studies scam, but her only reaction was to encourage AFRI/AFAM department chair Julius Nyang’oro to rein in the excesses.
Former advising dean Carolyn Cannon recognized that Debby Crowder was forging faculty signatures on grade forms, but neither she nor anyone else ever confronted Crowder.
Former provost Bernadette Gray-Little was told about the academic travails of an illiterate athlete but said “there is nothing we can do about it.”
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Athletes’ academic counselors, meanwhile, joked about the “notorious” paper classes.
Having “processes in place” is a good thing, but simple human curiosity and a will to defend academic integrity are even better.
Jay M. Smith
Professor of history, UNC-CH