UNC faces renewed scrutiny from its accrediting agency in the wake of the Wainstein report.
According to the News and Observer, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACS) will be sending university officials notice of a new probe this week.
The probe will focus on the academic fraud uncovered in the African and Afro-Amercian Studies department where more than 3,000 students received credit for bogus classes. The SACS investigation could last months, with a final ruling expected next June.
Sanctions could range from a warning of non-compliance to a two year probation period to a full loss of accreditation, though the ultimate penalty is rarely applied. However, the N&O quotes SACS president Belle Wheelan as saying, “It’s bigger than anything with which we’ve dealt before.”
Wainstein’s report is the latest, and most damaging, in a series of revelations about UNC’s paper class scheme. While prior investigations identified a pattern of fraudulent classes, Wainstein’s was the first to expose the depth of the problem, detailing nearly two decades of fraud involving hundreds of classes.
The unfolding scandal has already prompted review from SACS. In 2012 the accrediting agency began requiring UNC to submit extensive monitoring reports to prove classes were actually conducted as planned.
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