UNC Fraud Report Released

Students, Alumni Not Taking Advantage Of Make-Up AFAM Classes

By Kristin Ruffin Posted October 9, 2013 at 8:20 am

CHAPEL HILL – Just one student out of the 46 current students who took fraudulent courses in UNC’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies has registered for a free make-up course since the option was made available in May, the director of Communications for the College of Arts and Sciences, Dee Reid says.

The make-up courses are part of a plan the University is implementing to protect the integrity of the school; after a review of the department by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, known as the “Special Committee,” determined that the courses were fraudulent. These courses are collectively known as “Type 1” courses, according to a report released by the University.

The report says the university notified the 46 students who are affected by the review. Students received two letters in the mail notifying them that they would not receive credit for the courses.

In addition to the letters, each student’s school account was put on hold until he or she met with an adviser to discuss options to make-up the fraudulent course. UNC’s website says a hold on a student account prevents students from registering for future classes. Additionally, students cannot receive a diploma or a transcript while their account is on hold.

One letter explicitly stated to students that they would not receive credit for the “Type 1” courses. It said, “The University has discovered that [course name] was not conducted appropriately and therefore will require an additional course to supplement the requirements for a baccalaureate degree.”

The report says students may choose to enroll in another course to make-up the lost credit hours. The expenses for these courses will be paid in full with private funds from the university, including enrollment costs, textbooks, and other materials.

The report says students have two other options as well. They may take a challenge exam to test their knowledge of the material taught in the fraudulent course. If they pass, they will receive credit for the course, and do not have to take a make-up class.

They may also submit their coursework from the fraudulent class for review by a committee educated in the course material. If the coursework is considered ample for credit, the students do not have to take the make-up course.

Only one student at UNC has chosen to take a make-up course, Reid says. It is unclear how many of the effected students have chosen the other two options.

Out of 384 students enrolled in “Type 1” courses, 80 of them had not completed graduation requirements when the university submitted its report to the Special Committee on March 15, 2013.

Those 80 students were assigned to 2 categories:  “No Impact” and “Impact”.  Students in the “No Impact’ category did not receive credit for the course. If they did receive credit, they obtained the 120 required hours for graduation without the course, or completed their undergraduate degree at another university.

The 46 students mentioned before, were placed in the “Impact” category. They will have to make up the lost credit. This includes not only students majoring in African American Studies; but also students who took the class to fulfill general education requirements

According to the report, UNC has verified that the students who took a “Type 1” course and graduated in or after May 2012 had fulfilled more than 120 credits required for graduation, and did not need the “Type 1” course to obtain the degree.

According the report, the Special Committee found fraudulent courses dating back to 1997. Because university policy states that transcripts are “frozen” one year after students graduate, the diploma’s of students who graduated before 2012 are not in question.

The report says UNC will provide an option for alumni to retake a class at the expense of the university if they feel deprived of any academic experience as a result of the review.

The expenses for these courses will also be covered with private funds from UNC. Participants will not receive a grade, there will be no affect on the former students’ GPA or hours; but, their participation will be noted on their transcript, the report says.

There has only been one inquiry from a former UNC student about these courses, Reid Says.

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