The release states that the continued focus on the African, African-American, and Diaspora Studies department is unfair and that the department has been over investigated.
The statement also shares support of black students, athletes, and potential Tar Heels who are contemplating joining UNC. It stands behind black faculty and staff members in their daily efforts to prepare students for their lives ahead of them.
CBC member, lecturer in the Department of Exercise and Sports Science, and analyst for Carolina Women’s Baskeball, Dr. Deborah Stroman was live in the WCHL studio Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. to talk about the statement.
CHAPEL HILL – You’re invited to Kehillah Synagogue’s annual Yard Sale Sunday, February 2, from 9 am to 1 pm. Items have been donated by Kehillah members; proceeds will go to support the synagogue’s religious and preschool programs.
Kehillah Synagogue is located in Chapel Hill, just off campus at 1200 Mason Farm Road.
UNC has named Mark Katz as the new director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Katz is the chair of UNC’s music department; he’ll take over on July 1, replacing English professor John McGowan, who’s directed the Institute since 2006.
UNC grad Surojit “Surge” Biswas of Raleigh has won a $62,000 Churchill Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in England.
Biswas is one of only 14 in the nation to be chosen for the one-year award. He graduated from UNC in 2013; he’s planning to earn a master of philosophy in plant sciences at Cambridge before pursuing his doctorate.
The Churchill Scholarships are awarded by the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States. The Foundation has awarded 479 scholarships since 1963; 15 of those have gone to UNC students.http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/kehillah-yard-sale-new-iah-director-churchill-scholar/
CHAPEL HILL – The high-ranking educator at UNC who recently signed off on her support of Mary Willingham says the problem goes beyond revenue-generating sports.
“The pressure to admit a Japanese student and give him basic courses for American students who didn’t know a word of (Japanese),” Levine says. “So that was the first that I experienced, personally, pressure from a sport on behalf of what I would say a very phony admission. And, I’m assuming that the student never got admitted.
Madeline Levine is the former interim dean of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and is a Kenan Professor Emerita of Slavic Literatures. She taught for 36 years at UNC retiring in 2010.
The prospective student-athlete she was talking about was for golf in the 1980s.
Levine says she was angered to find out that this was taking place.
“This is just what you did,” Levine says. “You contacted a faculty member, and you tried to get accommodations for students, and that to me was not so much shocking then but really infuriating, and I was not going to play that game.”
She says she was approached with the idea of putting the recruit in classes at Carolina that he would be able to breeze through.
“I just got the call saying we have a Japanese student from Japan whose English is minimal—there’s no way he can pass any courses now until he gets his English, but we want to recruit him, so we would like you to agree that he can be enrolled in first-year and second-year Japanese,” Levine says.
Levine says those courses are for students who know nothing about the Japanese language and are slowly taught the basics.
When the news of Levine’s letter broke, it referenced a conversation she had with Provost Bernadette Gray-Little. Levine says that conversation was brief and was probably some 20 years after she first found out about the issues like that of the Japanese golf recruit.
“It was a very brief conversation,” Levine says. “It was not a debate in any way. I went to her as a new dean; I didn’t know what my responsibilities were, what authorities I had, or what I could do. I said I heard this, I’m troubled by it, what can I do? She said there’s nothing that can be done—I can’t quote her exactly—but there was nothing that could be done, the student was admitted. And, that was right.”
A spokesman for Gray-Little, who is now the President at Kansas, told the News and Observer she does not remember that conversation with Levine.
“I absolutely believe when now President Gray-Little says that she doesn’t remember such a conversation,” Levine says. “I’m sure she doesn’t. It was very brief; there are many other things going on in her work, and I sort of popped into the office after that, we talked for a few minutes, and I left.”
Levine says upper-level administrators would not have been able to detect faulty classes that were taking place. However, she says there were people that could have caught the problems long ago.
“In the athletics-support system where they would know that there are students getting grades well beyond their capability and where they were steering students into classes where they could succeed,” Levine says. “So, there’s a lot of burden on the people who were in athletic support to have gone to the chancellor and said everyone’s playing this game, but it’s getting out of hand at UNC, and it’s not the so-called ‘Carolina Way’.”
She says she’s sorry that she didn’t speak up sooner, but that one reason she didn’t was because she didn’t know the extent of the issue.
“I knew about the admissions, but I thought that at least the students who were admitted were getting sufficient tutoring to help them,” Levine says. “And I did not know about fake classes.”
And, she says she may have just fallen victim to laziness.
“There are many, many other things to do, to think about,” Levine says. “Perhaps I was hoping that other people who would be able to speak to it—people who had taught and encountered athletes in their classes who were struggling.”
Levine says she did teach student-athletes, but never any football or basketball players, and she says she never suspected ones that weren’t capable of completing her class.
To hear the interview with clinical instructor and academic advisor, Mary Willingham, and history professor Jay Smith from the WCHL Friday Morning News, click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/former-unc-dean-academic-issue-reaches-revenue-sports/
CHAPEL HILL - UNC clinical instructor and academic advisor, Mary Willingham said the academic problems at Carolina and at colleges and universities across the country start with the NCAA.
“This NCAA cartel machine is doing us wrong in this country and doing our young people some damage,” Willingham said. “Meanwhile, these folks are in Indiannoplis—and around the country, coaches and administrators—are making tons of money off the backs of these young people, and it’s got to stop.”
Those comments were made during an interview Friday on the WCHL Morning News.
***Watch the Full Interview***
***Correction from the interview: The IRB is the Institutional Review Board, not the Internal Review Board.
She said the admission of guilt by the university, and namely UNC Provost Jim Dean, that there were holes in the academic system is not enough.
“I really encourage (Provost Dean) to talk to us about what we know—Jay and I and others in the Athletic Reform Group—and open the door and have a real open conversation, because that has yet to happen at our university,” Willingham said. “It’s a university for crying out loud. We should all be able to sit around the room and have honest conversation and debate about what we know.”
Provost Dean was quoted in a Bloomberg Business Week article saying “We made mistakes. Horrible things happened that I’m ashamed of. Student-athletes and other students, too, were hurt. The integrity of our university was badly damaged.”
History professor Jay Smith was in the interview as well and announced that he—in collaboration with Willingham—is writing a book that talks about the history of the academic scandal at UNC in the African and Afro-American studies department and the illiteracy problems at UNC and at colleges and universities across the nation.
Smith said he, too, wants to see something more than just words come from the recent allegations of UNC’s academic improprieties.
“There’s nothing qualitatively different from any number of statements Holden Thorp made over the past several years before he left,” Smith said. “Holden, too, was willing to acknowledge mistakes had been made and that we had to be held accountable for them. Though, at least it does, on their part, signal a new willingness to look at the past and consider which lessons need to be derived from the past. So that’s…that is somewhat heartening.”
Willingham has been seen by many as an enemy to the university when she shared her research. She received death threats and was even called a liar by Provost Dean when he said in a Business Week article “she’s said that our students can’t read, our athletes can’t read, and that’s a lie.” Later in the interview for the article with Business Week’s Paul Barrett, the Provost said he had misspoken and doesn’t think that she’s a liar.
Willingham said she didn’t release the information with the intention of taking down the university.
“I really am a Tar Heel,” Willingham said. “I know what’s heard to believe, but I love this place.”
She said she wants to see a change in the way student-athletes are taken care of at the university and how they are viewed within the system.
“We had a countless number of athletes that I worked with during my tenure—nearly seven years—in the program that left without a real degree,” Willingham said. “We still don’t talk about those guys. They took all these bogus paper classes, and they left the university still woefully underprepared for probably even a high school. That’s wrong, and we owe them. We need to bring them back, and we need to offer them the possibility of a real, legitimate education. That’s what we promised them in the first place.”
She said that she’s not even saying that students who can’t read at a college level don’t have a place at UNC, but that those who are at a disadvantage need to be protected.
“I’ve never said that athletes or any students at Carolina don’t belong at Carolina,” Willingham said. “It’s a public university; it’s a university of the people. But I think if we’re going to take students in, then we need to meet them where they’re at academically and bring them along. That’s all students.”
“I think we still have this, some sort of arrogance or some level of problem—I don’t know exactly where it comes from—because in 1795 we had an academy at the University of North Carolina for young men from the state who weren’t able to read in Greek and Latin,” Willingham said. “That academy lasted for a decade or a little bit more. Why don’t we just reopen the academy, and we could have the best football team and the best basketball team in the country. We could recruit whoever we wanted, and we could provide a real education.”
Thursday evening the News and Observer shared a letter that former interim dean of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and current Kenan Professor Emerita of Slavic Literatures, Madeline Levine wrote to Chancellor Carol Folt and Provost Jim Dean expressing her disappointment in the attack of the information shared by Willingham.
In the letter, she said she, too, saw evidence of students that’s were just pushed through the system and weren’t given a proper education.
Willingham said she expects this is just the first of many to follow in her push for academic reform.
“I have more than 2,000 emails,” Willingham said. “I’m hearing from people all over the country. They’re embarrassed; they feel some shame, because they don’t want to speak publically, and I’m certainly not going to bring anyone under the bus with me, because it’s not too pretty under here. But, nevertheless, I think that coming out and talking openly has given some people permission, and I think you’re going to hear from more people. I don’t think Dr. Levine’s going to be the only one stepping forward.”http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/willingham-blasts-ncaa-academic-improprieties/
Story originally posted January 30, 2014 at 11:26 a.m.
CHAPEL HILL – Friday morning, UNC clinical instructor and academic advisor Mary Willingham will tell the latest in her story of pushing for a change in academics among student-athletes at the University.
***Willingham told WCHL that history professor Jay Smith will join in the conversation Friday morning.
Smith is reportedly writing a book about the academic problems that have plagued the university in recent years.
Willingham was quoted in a CNN article January 8 as saying there is an alarming number of illiterate student-athletes at UNC. The University released data a week later that disputes the claims in the CNN article.
Willingham said she received death threats for speaking out about the issue, which she says she’s passionate about fixing.
Immediately following the UNC data release, the group which is responsible for approving research projects conducted at the University, the Internal Review Board (IRB), suspended Willingham’s research and said she must submit her work to be reviewed. Upon that announcement, she said she would do so, but on Wednesday, a Daily Tar Heel article said she may not.
The person in charge of overseeing the IRB, director of the Office of Human Research Ethics, Daniel Nelson, says the suspension is not uncommon. He told the DTH that it happens 10 to 20 times a year.
The University has commissioned a panel of outside experts to review Willingham’s raw data set and methodology.
Tune in to the WCHL Morning News with Ron Stutts Friday at 7:00 when Mary Willingham will be live in the studio. You can listen on 97.9 FM and streaming live online at Chapelboro.com.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/catching-mary-willingham-live-friday-morning/
CHAPEL HILL – A high-ranking educator at UNC has come out in support of academic advisor Mary Willingham’s claims that the University has admitted student athletes who were not ready for Carolina.
Former interim dean of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and current Kenan Professor Emerita of Slavic Literatures, Madeline Levine wrote a letter to Chancellor Carol Folt and Provost Jim Dean expressing her disappointment in the attack of the information shared by Willingham.
The News and Observer intercepted the letter and broke the story Thursday evening.
Levine accused UNC of not trying to fix the fraudulent academic issues that have been plaguing the university for some time now. She also said that Provost Dean poorly handled the public announcement of the university’s stance with Willingham when he criticized her findings at a Faculty Council meeting.
Chancellor Folt reportedly responded to Levine’s letter saying she appreciated the input and that she passed the information along to Provost Dean and Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham. She went on to say that the university “accept(s) accountability for the past and (is) continuing to learn as a community from those painful lessons”—a sentiment shared recently by the university on multiple occasions.
Levine also reportedly met with the provost of UNC at the time, Bernadette Gray-Little in an attempt to express her concern for the lack of college readiness among student athletes. She said she was told that it was known that the decision had been made to grant special admission to a student and there was nothing to be done about it by then.” She went on to say that “I still feel guilty that I let the matter drop and did not publicly express my dismay.”
A spokesman for Gray-Little told the N&O she does not remember that conversation with Levine.
Friday morning, Mary Willingham and history professor Jay Smith will join Ron Stutts and News Director Ran Northam for a live interview in the WCHL studios at 7:00 a.m. to discuss the ongoing conversation of the claims of illiteracy at UNC.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/high-ranking-unc-educator-supports-willinghams-claims/
CHAPEL HILL – About 400 political and business leaders gathered at the Friday Center on Thursday for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting, to honor outstanding local businesses, nonprofits, and individuals.
Meg McGurk of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership set the tone in her keynote address. “Downtown has reached a tipping point,” she told the attendees. “The private sector is investing in downtown on unprecedented levels, the public sector has taken a new pride in engaging in our downtown…(and) you are the ones that are making that change happen.”
The highlight of the annual meeting was the awarding of the Chamber’s annual Business of the Year honors:
• The Micro-Enterprise Business of the Year award went to Sweeps, a company that matches UNC students with locals in need of moving, cleaning, tutoring, and other odd jobs.
• The Large Business of the Year honor went to ARCA, an international manufacturer and distributer with global headquarters in Mebane.
• The Orange County Rape Crisis Center won the Chamber’s Nonprofit of the Year award.
And the Chamber also recognized three individuals as well. Longtime volunteer Irene Briggaman won the Ambassador of the Year award; UNC Executive Director of Real Estate Gordon Merklein won the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service award for his work not only with UNC, but also with various local service organizations. And outgoing Chamber board chair Paige Zinn recognized former Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton with the Chamber’s award for Leadership in Public-Private Partnership.
“Mark has demonstrated that you can support economic and community development without forswearing your interest in the environment and social justice,” Zinn said of Chilton.
Attendees at the meeting included state government officials, the three mayors of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough, and all but one member of the Orange County Board of Commissioners.http://chapelboro.com/news/business/local-leaders-businesses-honor-local-leaders-businesses/
CHAPEL HILL - Longtime UNC Professor of Journalism Dr. Charlie Tuggle has dedicated more than four years to telling the story of Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, an Argentinean human rights organization of grandmothers committed to finding their lost grandchildren.
On February 13, Tuggle will share that story on a special stage with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter for a panel discussion on human rights at The Carter Center in Atlanta.
**A live webcast of the panel discussion and screening will be available here.**
“So to be on that, if you will, national stage with the former President discussing the importance of human rights, indeed that could be—it is—one of the highlights of my professional career,” Tuggle said.
Tuggle’s documentary, “Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo and the Search for Identity,” focuses on a period in Argentina’s history referred to as the Dirty War, during which tens of thousands of individuals were arrested, tortured and killed from 1976-1983.
The grandmothers interviewed in the film say their grandchildren were abducted by the Argentinean government during the country’s military dictatorship.
Those kidnapped became known as Los Desaparecidos or “the disappeared.” Many of the babies were taken from their mothers and given to families sympathetic to the ruling regime.
Tuggle explained that all information regarding the babies’ identities was changed.
“The main thing is that average people can make a difference. We have the grandmothers who were just a bunch of little old ladies with no political power whatsoever, and yet they changed the government of their country.”
The event next month, which is part of the “Conversations at The Carter Center” series, will focus on the Dirty War.
To begin the evening, Tuggle will present the 45-minute documentary, and Jennifer McCoy, director of the Carter Center’s Americas Program, will moderate a discussion to follow.
Hodding Carter, UNC Professor and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, will serve as co-panelist, along with Tex Harris, former U.S. Embassy officer in Argentina, and Bob Cox, former editor of the English-language Buenos Aires Herald.
Since the completion of the film two years ago, Tuggle has been screening the documentary nationally and internationally.
Some of those who are featured in the documentary were formerly associated with the U.S. State Department. They suggested that Tuggle reach out to the Carter Center, since the events happened during the Carter Administration.
“I basically emailed someone at the Carter Center out of the blue and said, ‘Hey, would you guys be interested in showing this?’ One thing led to another, and now they have made it a part of the President’s 90th birthday celebration, looking at this human rights legacy,” Tuggle said.
The documentary will also soon be helping teachers in the State educate students about the Dirty War.
“There is actually a unit on the UNC Campus that takes faculty projects and works them into N.C. [schools] curriculum, and that has just become available in the past week. We are sending out notices about that to teachers across the State, and then there will be a second set of lesson plans that are very similar that will be applicable to anyone in the country.”
Tuggle is the Director of the Master’s Program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Until recently, he was the faculty head of Carolina Week, an award-winning student-run news program. He also helped to launch the student-run Sports Xtra, which is a dedicated to covering Tar Heel athletics.
You can catch Tuggle’s Sports Focus right here on WCHL Saturday and Sunday mornings.
**Hear the radio version of this story:**http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/uncs-charlie-tuggle-join-jimmy-carter-human-rights-panel/
CHAPEL HILL – The Ackland Art Museum is exhibiting two collections of prints this spring, both examining how artists have represented America across the centuries.
One of the collections is “’America Seen’: The Hunter and Cathy Allen Collection of Social Realist Prints.” It features 38 original prints from the 1920s to the 1940s, depicting American work and social life from the Roaring Twenties through the Great Depression and World War II.
The second collection, “The New Found Land,” goes back a bit further—to the 1590s. “The New Found Land” features prints made by the Franco-Flemish engraver Theodor de Bry to illustrate a book called “A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia” by Thomas Herriot. The book—and de Bry’s illustrations—introduced many Europeans to Native American life and culture.
Both exhibitions run from January 31 to April 13. There will be an opening reception on Friday, January 31, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. It’s free and open to the public.
UNC’s General Alumni Association has honored two Carolina professors with the annual Faculty Service Award.
This year’s honorees are chemistry department chair Valerie Ashby and Nobel-winning geneticist Oliver Smithies.
The Faculty Service Award was established in 1990 to recognize faculty members who have performed outstanding service for the University or the GAA.
Applications are now available for Chapel Hill’s 2014-15 Community Development Block Grants. Grants are available for innovative projects designed to benefit low- to middle-income residents of Chapel Hill.
Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 26. To apply, visit www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=1357.http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/prints-ackland-faculty-awards-cdbg-grants/
CHAPEL HILL – The emergency siren and text message test on UNC’s campus is being postponed due to the threat of inclement weather.
The emergency system test was scheduled to take place between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, but that is a time when inclement weather is projected to move into the area.
Department of Public Safety Chief Jeff McCracken said he was concerned that the test may cause undue confusion, especially if an actual alert message has to be announced.
The new test date has not yet been determined.http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/unc-emergency-siren-test-postponed/