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Former Deans To Blame For Academic Scandal

By Ran Northam Posted May 8, 2014 at 8:46 am

A UNC learning specialist says the very people who are blasting the University for allowing the academic scandal to take place are at the heart of the problem.

Bradley Bethel is the author of the blog Coaching the Mind: Putting the Student in Student-Athlete. He blamed the deans in the College of Arts and Sciences during Julius Nyang’oro’s tenure for a lack of oversight.

“This professor didn’t show up for over a decade, and his supervisors had no idea,” Bethel says. “So, the reality of this scandal is that it is gross negligence on the academic side, unfortunately.”

Two former deans, Jay Smith and Madeline Levine (interim in 2006-2007), have been outspoken about the academic scandal. WCHL has requested a list of deans in the College of Arts and Sciences, and UNC says it will deliver that shortly.

Addition:
Past Deans of Arts and Sciences
Alan Wilson Hobbs, 1930-46
William Wells, 1946-51
Clifford Lyons, 1951-53
C. Hugh Holman, 1953-55
J. Carlyle Sitterson, 1955-65
Frank Duffey, Acting Dean, 1965-66
John Charles (J.C.) Morrow 1966-68
Raymond Dawson, 1968-72
James Ruben Gaskin 1972-78
Samuel R. Williamson Jr. 1978-85
Gillian Cell, 1985-1992
Stephen Birdsall, 1992-97
Risa Palm, 1997-2003
Richard Soloway, Interim Dean, 2003-04
Bernadette Gray-Little, 2004-2006
Madeline Levine, Interim Dean, 2006-07
Holden Thorp,2007-08
Bruce Carney, Interim Dean, 2008-09

In an email, Smith told WCHL that he may be available to comment sometime next week.

Smith has followed up by saying he doesn’t want to comment about what Bethel has said.

Bethel says he found that Nyang’oro’s last performance review and reappointment was in the 2006-07 school year, during Levine’s term as interim dean.

“Madeline Levine approved his performance review and his reappointment,” Bethel says. “Madeline Levine had the power, had the position to know—she should have known—what was going on when she decided to give her stamp of approval to Julius Nyang’oro for reappointment.”

He says Levine was purposefully trying to shift the blame away from academic oversight and shift the blame to athletics.

“What she’s doing is trying to hide the fact that it’s specifically her failure of academic oversight, as well as the other deans who had no idea what was going on in his classes, for over a decade,” Bethel says.

Levine has not returned WCHL’s email in the attempts to set up an interview.

Bethel also says he believes the claims of illiteracy made by former UNC academic advisor Mary Willingham are based on “embellishments and fabrications.”

(Willingham’s Illiteracy Findings Discredited By Outside Experts)

Willingham also served as a learning specialist at UNC, and she told CNN that’s when she first noticed there was a problem. That led to her research she released saying that 60 percent of a group of 176 student-athletes at UNC between 2004 and 2012 read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels.

Bethel says that release left him with many questions.

“How could this woman so audaciously diminish the commitment and the effort that her former colleagues have put in to helping student athletes?” Bethel asks. “She’s spoken very negatively about the academic support program.”

Bethel has agreed to return to WCHL next week to continue the conversation.

***Listen to the Interview***

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