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Academic Scandal: ‘A Shared Culpability’

By Ran Northam Posted May 29, 2014 at 7:00 pm

In early April, more than 30 retired UNC faculty members in a letter published in the News and Observer, urged those currently employed by the University to demand answers from the administration into how academic improprieties could have taken place for so long and why the administration has been so quiet about the academic scandal.

UNC’s Faculty Chair-elect, Bruce Cairns says before blame is spread too far, it’s important to remember just how far back the scandal reaches.

“We all share culpability in this,” Dr. Cairs says. “It’s difficult: if you’ve been associated with the University as a faculty member for the past 20-plus years, then there can be questions asked that encompass all of us. And, so, the issue is, what should we be doing now as faculty?”

These comments were made during a WCHL News Special with Jim Heavner.

***Listen to Part 4***

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Dr. Cairns says he holds high value in what the former faculty members have to say and that he wants to create ways that they can provide input to better the future of Carolina.

Dr. Cairns is the Jaycee Burn Center director and John Stackhouse Distinguished Professor of Surgery. He was recently elected as chair of the faculty at UNC and will take over from Jan Boxill at the start of the new academic year on July 1. The faculty chair position holds a three-year term.

Dr. Cairns uses the idiom, ‘those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw the first stone’ when describing the ongoing conversation about the scandal. He says its important that, in the world of academia, the conversation remain civil.

“I think the vigorous discussion and debate is totally appropriate,” Dr. Cairns says. “Do I think it’s helpful to says somebody’s not doing their job and that kind of thing? Probably not, because everybody’s working hard, and we’re trying to do the best we can. But I absolutely respect people’s opinion and that they’re unhappy and upset about what has occurred. We all are.”

The WCHL News Special with Jim Heavner featuring Dr. Bruce Cairns will air Saturday and Sunday at 12:00 noon on 97.9 FM, 1360 AM, and streaming here.

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