posted on August 20, 2012 14:24
UNC-Chapel Hill’s biggest mistake in handling its academic scandal: Treating it as a PR problem (“How do we put a stop to these stories?”) instead of a leadership problem (“How do we find out what happened and make sure it never happens again?”).
The Jim Martin investigation is a good step. But way past overdue.
Worst of all, the N&O apparently believes the school has been more interested in playing down the problem than getting to the bottom of it. Those seeds of suspicion never go away.
Plus, the N&O can’t go soft on Chapel Hill. N.C. State fans still believe the N&O unfairly hounded out Jim Valvano and Bruce Poulton two decades ago for lesser violations.
Even in announcing the Martin audit, Chancellor Holden Thorp’s language wasn’t strong enough. He said it would review “any additional academic irregularities that may have occurred.”
That sounds too much like the faux apologies politicians offer after a gaffe: “I apologize if anyone was offended by my remarks.”
He should have said: “I want this audit to find every single thing that was done wrong, so we can fix it.”
The most unfortunate thing here is the racial aspect. Would that the program in question had been something like the “Sports Communications” department or “Physics of Athletics” rather than the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.
Nor were matters helped by Julius Peppers’ written statement. One wit dismissed it as “just another paper that somebody else wrote for Julius Peppers.”
I know my fellow Wolfpackers. They’ll hunt down any morsel that embarrasses UNC – whatever obscure website corner it’s hidden away in.
And what are the chances a disgruntled UNC employee posted Peppers’ transcript, then made sure the world saw it?