University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Takes Action as a Result of Investigation of Irregular Class Offerings

An independent investigation conducted by the former federal prosecutor, Kenneth Wainstein, uncovered a series of irregularities in course offerings at the Department of African and Afro-American Studies (formerly known as AFAM) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The findings showed that two people at the said department were involved in offering the so called "paper classes" to thousands of students between 1993 and 2011. These paper classes were based on the premise that students write a paper on a given subject and receive credit for it. Evidence shows that these paper classes did not involve any student-faculty contact or any type of academic instruction. The classes were aimed primarily at student-athletes directed to the department by the academic advisors at the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes. Papers resulted in consistently high grades, all assessed by the said persons offering the classes. In some instances, classes were listed as lectures despite the same lack of contact with any member of the academic teaching faculty. Credits earned through these "paper classes" amounted to as much as, or slightly higher than, a semester of academic work per student.

Upon the announcement of the investigation results the university took immediate action to strengthen their oversight of academic offerings in the future. No further irregularities were found outside of the AFAM department.



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