North Carolina DA seeks fraud investigation of black studies at UNC

Thomas Lifson
It may be a firing offense to criticize the standards and practices in black studies if you are part of the higher education industry, but district attorneys are not subject to the fashions of academic life. North Carolina, a scandal is vrewing at the flagship campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Jane Stancill of the Raleigh News and Observer reports:

Orange-Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a separate probe of UNC-Chapel Hill's African and Afro-American Studies program, following findings of academic fraud by a university review.

One of factors that led to the request for a state criminal investigation is a professor (who was a paid employee of the state) being paid for work which was apparently not carried out:

...it appears that UNC-CH professor Julius Nyang'oro was paid to teach summer school courses in which classes were not held and no supervision took place

But that is not the entirety of the potential problem in the black studies department: 

The findings of an internal UNC probe released this month found 54 classes within the department in which there was little or no indication of instruction. The review also found at least 10 cases of unauthorized grade changes involving students who did not complete their work.


We can anticipate cries of racism should the DA's request lead to an official investigation and prosecution. But if the good professor did get paid for work not performed, that is not covered by academic freedom. And fraud is fraud, no matter what the race of the alleged perp.

Higher education is hurtling toward a major crisis, as it has now priced itself beyond affordability, and the terrible job market in the Obama economy is demonstrating the uselessness of many degrees in soft disciplines. It is time for a thorough re-thinking of higher education now that technology has made access to lectures and texts possible for anyone.

There is nothing like subpoena power to get to the truth.

It may be a firing offense to criticize the standards and practices in black studies if you are part of the higher education industry, but district attorneys are not subject to the fashions of academic life. North Carolina, a scandal is vrewing at the flagship campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Jane Stancill of the Raleigh News and Observer reports:

Orange-Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a separate probe of UNC-Chapel Hill's African and Afro-American Studies program, following findings of academic fraud by a university review.

One of factors that led to the request for a state criminal investigation is a professor (who was a paid employee of the state) being paid for work which was apparently not carried out:

...it appears that UNC-CH professor Julius Nyang'oro was paid to teach summer school courses in which classes were not held and no supervision took place

But that is not the entirety of the potential problem in the black studies department: 

The findings of an internal UNC probe released this month found 54 classes within the department in which there was little or no indication of instruction. The review also found at least 10 cases of unauthorized grade changes involving students who did not complete their work.


We can anticipate cries of racism should the DA's request lead to an official investigation and prosecution. But if the good professor did get paid for work not performed, that is not covered by academic freedom. And fraud is fraud, no matter what the race of the alleged perp.

Higher education is hurtling toward a major crisis, as it has now priced itself beyond affordability, and the terrible job market in the Obama economy is demonstrating the uselessness of many degrees in soft disciplines. It is time for a thorough re-thinking of higher education now that technology has made access to lectures and texts possible for anyone.

There is nothing like subpoena power to get to the truth.