Can UNC Maintain New Policies Post AFAM?
CHAPEL HILL – UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp says if it was possible to narrow the investigation into the African and Afro-American Studies department down simply in regards to academics and athletics, it would center around two figures connected to the department’s administrative assistant, Debbie Crowder.
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“In terms of the athletics part, I think there’s been all this discussion about whether it was an athletics thing or it wasn’t an athletics thing,” Chancellor Thorp says. “Of course the athletes knew about this, and we have been transparent about the fact that Debbie Crowder is the long-time partner of Warren Martin. It was in the Martin Report—and in my opinion, maybe not acknowledged to the extent that it should have been—that Burgess McSwain, the long-time basketball tutor, was a close, close friend of Debbie Crowder. So, that provided the access to what was going on.”
The aftermath of the multiple investigations into the AFAM department—both internal and external—have left the University with a myriad of policies to try and make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again. However, Chancellor Thorp says he hopes it’s not too much.
“The only thing that worries me about the changes in oversight is whether its overkill and whether we’ll be able to sustain it,” Chancellor Thorp says. “So I think there’s no question that we’ve got lots of policies in place to catch this kind of thing. But I think more importantly in terms of the culture…is recognizing that this place isn’t perfect and things can happen here. This happened for 14 years, and lots of great, great people who served this university well were administrators during that time, and none of us caught this.”
These comments were made in a WCHL News Special end-of-term interview with Jim Heavner. The interview will be played in its entirety Saturday and Sunday.
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