UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp has announced an independent review of the academic scandal involving the AFAM department led by former Governor Jim Martin.
Here is Thorp's letter announcing the extended review which is expected to moved beyond the initial 2007-11 time period UNC's internal investigation covered.
As part of our ongoing review of academic irregularities disclosed in May in our review of courses in African and Afro-American Studies, we have been reviewing the extent to which irregularities may have occurred prior to 2007. In consultation with our Board of Trustees and UNC President Tom Ross, we have asked James G. Martin, former N.C. governor and a former professor at Davidson College, to lead an independent review of any additional academic irregularities that may have occurred. Governor Martin’s expanded review will be assisted by Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP, a national management consulting firm with extensive experience in academic performance audit procedures and controls. Members of the Board of Trustees, President Ross and I all believe that this is an important step in rebuilding the confidence that you deserve to have in our academic integrity. This review will begin immediately.
Governor Martin and Virchow, Krause & Company will provide their findings to the UNC Board of Governors panel that is now assessing the University’s previous investigation. We will then ask Virchow, Krause & Company to review the new academic performance policies, procedures and controls that we have already implemented to ensure that they represent best practices and, if not, to make specific recommendations for improvement. We are determined to make sure that our internal controls are such that irregularities of the past will not recur.
There are mixed reactions to this. There are some saying, "Hey about time!" There is the IC crowd who thinks UNC is screwing themselves(again.) Then there are those who still think Martin isn't independent enough. If memory serves, Martin is held in high regard after two terms at North Carolina's governor from 1985-1993 with the bonus of having an extensive academic background from his faculty days at Davidson College. It would be hard for me to believe Martin won't do a solid job conducting the review and no, where you are from, where you went to school, etc, etc, etc doesn't mean a &^%$ thing when it comes to how someone appointed to this kind of job performs. I continue to find it comical(and sad) that people really operate in the world believing just because someone is from this place or went to school in that place it makes them incapable of doing a job correctly.[/rantoff]
For the record, I have zero issues with Martin leading the review or with there being a review in general. There was too much blood in the water to expect the sharks to go away. The only way to extricate the university from this mess is get a definitive determination of what happened by someone people respect. Could it end up being painful? Sure. Could we find out more than we want which results in additional penalties from the NCAA. Possibly. However the box of options is fairly empty at this point save Holden Thorp holding a press conference, flipping off the assembled media and telling them to go eff themselves(which I would pay to see but isn't going to happen.)
The only hope for UNC supporters is the review is done well and the damage is contained. Most importantly, the hope is finality and closure on a scandal that is now over two years old.