Worsened UNC Academic Fraud

The latest investigation found that university leaders, faculty members and
 staff missed or just ignored flags that could've stopped the problem years
 earlier. More than 3,100 students -- about half of them athletes -- benefited
 from sham classes and artificially high grades in the formerly named African
 and Afro-American Studies department AFAM in Chapel Hill.

A report by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein
 indicates that the bogus classes ended in 2011. The university has since
overhauled the department and implemented new policies, but it must wait
 to find out whether the damaging new details lead to more problems with
 the agency that accredits the school. The NCAA, which has reopened its
 investigation into academic misconduct, could also have concerns of lack
 of institutional control.

"Bad actions of a relatively few number of people were definitely compounded
 by inaction and the lack of really appropriate checks and balances,
 Chancellor Carol Folt said Thursday.And it was together that really allowed
 this to persist for such a length of time."

The issues outlined in the report were jarring, including the clear involvement
 of athletic counselors who steered athletes into those bogus classes. From 1993
 to 2011, those classes required no attendance and required only a research
 paper that received A's and B's without regard for quality, a cursory review
often performed by an office secretary who also signed the chairman's name to grade rolls.

Those two people -- retired administrator Deborah Crowder and former
 chairman Julius Nyang'oro -- were at the center of the scheme. But
Wainstein's report also notes school officials failed to act on their suspicions
 or specific concerns that came to their attention. It all added up to a series
 of missed chances to stop the fraud and instead allowed it to escalate.

Accreditation questions are now facing the university.