CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wondered aloud Thursday how courses with little or no supervision from professors could have continued for years before building into a case of academic fraud.
Campus trustees were briefed on the fraud uncovered in the school's African and Afro-American Studies program, which was at the center of an investigation involving Tar Heel football players, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported (http://bit.ly/KinyaL ).
A university report released earlier this month found 54 classes within the department in which there was little or no indication of instruction. The review also found cases of unauthorized grade changes.
The State Bureau of Investigation is probing the situation to determine whether any criminal violations occurred.
Trustee chairman Wade Hargrove said the report describing the university's internal investigation found "major indiscretions that raise serious questions of unprofessional and unethical conduct."
Problems were mostly linked to two employees, the report said. Julius Nyang'oro, a professor and former department chairman, is retiring effective July 1. Nyang'oro resigned as chairman in August after he was linked to a class in which former football player Michael McAdoo wrote a research paper that later led to accusations of plagiarism.
Another staff member retired in 2009 and declined to cooperate with the UNC probe.
The university's review covered 2007-11 and showed that Nyang'oro was the instructor of record for 45 of the 54 suspect classes.
Football players at North Carolina made up more than a third of enrollments in suspect classes within the department during that time span, the university said this month. Men's basketball players represented 23 enrollments, roughly 3 percent, during that time.
"These findings are a kick in the gut to those of us who take great pride in what we do here," UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp said.