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UNC Faculty Say N&O Distorted Boxill’s Intentions

UNC Faculty Say N&O Distorted Boxill’s Intentions

Photo by Erik Andersen

CHAPEL HILL – In a letter signed by 16 UNC professors, faculty give Chair Jan Boxill their support and say that the media has largely distorted what Boxill was trying to do.

“It had nothing to do with the situation that was being investigated,” master lecturer at UNC Jean DeSaix says.

The issue commented on is the News and Observer’s July 20 story on Boxill saying she tried to cover up scandalous information about UNC’s athletic program. Dan Kane, writer for The N & O, alleged that Boxill did this to lessen the likelihood of further NCAA investigations.

DeSaix says that Boxill e-mailed the authors of an academic fraud report to change the description of one individual from an “athletic supporter” to a “booster.”

DeSaix says reports in state news outlets, particularly by the News and Observer, cast aspersions on the motives behind Boxill’s emails, which DeSaix traces back to her word choice.

“Just by using the phrase about it not being our intention to cause further NCAA concern, just using that phrase would make it seem as if we were trying to hide something,” DeSaix says.

The three authors of the academic fraud report itself were aware of Boxill’s intentions, according to another one of the letter’s signatories, Leslie Parise, professor of pharmacology at UNC.

“The faculty executive committee knows Jan Boxill and knows that her only interest was in accurate wording of the report,” Parise says. “This was affirmed by those faculty who were involved in authoring the report.”

WCHL reached out to the letter of support’s three authors and all of the professors who signed the letter of support. Other than the two quoted in this story, two of the authors said they didn’t want to comment or weren’t available and the third’s email had an out-of-town auto-response; the other signatories have not yet replied to WCHL’s request.


  1. Fred Johnson

    This just seems to re-affirm what many of us have believed for some time….that Mr. Kane appears to have his own agenda when reporting on UNC athletics and isn’t about to allow journalistic integrity get in the way!

  2. Jay Smith

    In response to professor Parise: if Boxill’s only interest was in “accurate wording,” as you say, she would not have challenged the assertion that D. Crowder’s relationship to athletics was “extremely close.” Everyone knew that those relations were extremely close and that the FEC reporting was therefore quite accurate–including professor Boxill herself. In fact, in the email in which she requested the change, she did not dispute the veracity of the statement; she merely asked whether it was appropriately “facultylike” to say it, and whether the committee really wanted to be raising “further NCAA issues.” The desire to defend professor Boxill is understandable. She has made many valuable contributions to the Carolina community and is well liked by everyone. But the desire to protect a friend and colleague must not lead to denial of the reality of evidence already placed before our eyes.

    • William Link

      “She has made many valuable contributions to the Carolina community and is well liked by everyone. ”

      unlike a certain other professor

      • Tal

        Mr. Smith–there comes a point that the University has to move on, regardless of Dan Kanes desire to keep his story on the front pages. The Carolina community has suffered and taken measures to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future. Your desire to see your name in print is only slightly less than Dan kane and John Dreschers desire to keep their agenda going. You are not serving the good of the University with your constant comments and narrative. You could do the University and yourself a favor by working to fix the problem instead of harping on things in the past. You are a poster child for getting rid of tenure.

        • SGW

          @ Tal – you have said it much nicer than I would have, but you are dead on.

          @ Jay Smith – if you really cared about Carolina you would recuse yourself from your constant inflammatory comments to the press. You are an embarrassment to the Carolina community and should be ashamed of yourself. Im sure you are familiar with Dante’s Inferno, and you are either destined for the 9th circle of hell as a treacherous pig, or at the best case the 8th circle as a complete and utter fraud. If you truly care about UNC, you are a traitor. If you have some sorted agenda to constantly bash UNC because you only feint loyalty to the University, you are a fraud.

          Either way, if you are not a man enough to leave the University and go somewhere that you “approve” of, then at the very least keep your self aggrandizing comments to yourself.

    • Andy

      Define “extremely close to athletics”.

    • Bob

      I wish I had a job like Jay Smith where I could spend all my time beating dead horses instead of actually doing my job.

      • Tal

        Professor Smith would have a very hard time in the “real world”

    • Shawn

      When the legislature ends the tenure protection of professors in the University system, I wonder if your colleagues will write a letter supporting your efforts, Mr. Smith.

    • H. Bright Lindler

      In response to Professor Smith: If you and other faculty members (Dean Thorpe at the time) knew things were amiss with your colleague, Professor N’yaroo, as you have implied, if not admitted, why did not YOU do something about it then. In the final analysis, the faculty controls the curriculum, NOT the Athletic Department.

      • Ramses

        Mr. Smith, this would be a great time to defend yourself and explain to us why you take every opportunity to disparage the University you work for and its employees/your peers. You have to realize that your joining the N&O’s witch hunt has made you a hated man. At least try to explain your goals with your classless and backstabbing behavior – how is it you think that you are helping UNC either now or in the future? If you aren’t trying to help please take your demented show on the road and keep on going. Surely there are other ways you can think of to get your name in the papers.

  3. Artguy101

    Well, surprise surprise. Another comment from the outspoken and, well, irrelevant Professor Smith. So you would advocate faculty reports speculating on relationships, innuendo and motives as opposed to facts? Sounds about right based on your months of commentary. Wish you spent the time you spend on this subject being a better professor and doing real research with meaning for mankind and the people of the State of NC instead of throwing bombs from the sidelines. The earlier comment was right….you give professors (and tenure) a bad name.

  4. garland whitley

    Mr. Smith, I see you miss your good buddy Holden. However, if you are so concerned about the state of Affairs at UNC, and some sort cover-up, why didn’t you speak up at the misgivings by a less than stellar Professor in the AFAM Study class? You Sir are a fraud, and seem to love attention. More so, than helping you’re employer. HOW SAD!!

  5. Ed Prost

    Jan Boxill’s contributions to UNC are far too numerous to list. One of her best qualities is her reluctance to seek out attention in order to engage in self promotion, choosing instead, to concentrate on her duties, dedicating her efforts to serving the people at UNC.

    The university would be much better served if more followed her example and moved grandstanding and self promotion a little lower on their list of priorities..

  6. Shooter Flatch

    Dan Kane’s original article, suggesting that Boxill sought to scrub the fraud report to avoid drawing the NCAA’s attention to Crowder, was — to use a word that Kane dearly loves — bogus.

    Consider the following facts.

    June 15, 2012 – Dan Kane writes article suggesting that Deborah Crowder has close relationship with UNC athletics because she dated Warren Martin and hung out in basketball tunnel once upon a time, and was in position to know about “bogus” classes

    June 26, 2012 – Jan Boxill sends email asking to take out innuendo that Crowder was close to UNC athletics from a report that in final form still says that a department staff member used system to help players (wonder where the innuendo about her personal relationships came from – one guess)?

    July 2013 – Kane writes article, with quote from trusty go-to Jay Smith, arguing that UNC sanitized report to hide issues from NCAA.

    How stupid does Kane think the NCAA is? And how stupid does Kane think Boxill thinks the NCAA is? Anyone who wanted all the innuendo they could handle about the AfAm issues could just read Kane’s desperate striving for the Pulitzer from 2012, whether or not UNC referenced Crowder and her love life explicitly in a faculty report. The final report said that a staff member steered athletes to AfAm courses. Couldn’t the NCAA have asked, “Hey, who was that staff member, by the way,” in 2012? And how do we know that it didn’t?

    Kane so badly wants this to be a big and important story that he is accusing UNC officials of “covering up” innuendo that he HAD ALREADY REPORTED in what used to be a national newspaper (before Kane & co. flushed it down the toilet).

    It’s also worth noting that Boxill’s email came 3 days after the NCAA had used a commissioned report to hammer Penn State without doing any independent fact-finding. No wonder Boxill was so reluctant to put innuendo and made-up motives into the report, and no wonder that the faculty (aside from Jay Smith, who appears to have discarded his pursuit of early-modern French rhetoric to become a blowhard expert for Kane) has come out against Kane’s mudslinging.


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