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Folt: Willingham Meeting “Business-Like”

By Ran Northam Posted April 22, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Story originally posted April 22, 4:59 p.m.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt says her meeting with academic advisor Mary Willingham was never contentious, but Willingham stands by her saying the University leader admonished her.

Photo Dan Sears, UNC News Services.

Photo Dan Sears, UNC News Services.

In an email to WCHL, the Chancellor’s office said she gave Willingham time to express her concerns on anything she wished and that Chancellor Folt expressed her points of view, including “her commitment to ensuring the success of all students at Carolina.” The meeting lasted about one hour Monday afternoon.

The News and Observer reported Monday that Willingham told UNC History professor Jay Smith that the Chancellor berated her in the meeting. Both Smith and Willingham said they didn’t use the word berated, but that she did feel like she was reprimanded in their discussion.

Mary Willingham appearing in the documentary "Schooled: The Price of College Sports"

Mary Willingham appearing in the documentary “Schooled: The Price of College Sports”

Chancellor Folt said she expressed in the meeting that the issues Willingham is raising are being addressed through academic and athletic reforms and that there are more in review.

In an interview on Monday with Carolina Week‘s Sports Xtra, the UNC student-produced newscast, Willingham said Chancellor Folt accused her of polarizing the community. However, she said the polarization wasn’t created by her but through the interlocking of athletics and academics. Willingham said she understands she’s made it hard for some people, including the Chancellor, and that she knows the Chancellor has a tough task ahead of her. But, Willingham says she thinks Chancellor Folt will try to move the University (using the word “us”) forward.

Sports Xtra with Mary Willingham Interview Monday

The description of Monday’s meeting has been told multiple ways, but one fact is certain: despite not handing in a letter of resignation yet, Willingham says she will leave UNC at the end of the semester.

Willingham finished classes Tuesday and says she will post grades next week. She said she will talk with her boss after posting final grades to discuss her departure from UNC. She is a key witness in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit and says she will be focusing on the goal of reforming intercollegiate athletics from outside of the University.

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