After yesterday’s article on why UNC’s accreditation should be the next disciplinary step in their descent into collegiate Hell, I began looking into what it took to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Their published principles can be found on their website.
Here are a few areas where it appears Carolina is violating their obligations for accreditation. Not too long ago, I even posted an article that advocated for dropping the athletic call-to-arms regarding some of the more athletically-centric super-sleuthing, but there is a bigger-picture problem with UNC. Read on…
“The institution provides instruction for all course work required for at least one degree program at each level at which it awards degrees. If the institution does not provide instruction for all such course work and (1) makes arrangements for some instruction to be provided by other accredited institutions or entities through contracts or consortia or (2) uses some other alternative approach to meeting this requirement, the alternative approach must be approved by the Commission on Colleges. In both cases, the institution demonstrates that it controls all aspects of its educational program. (See Commission policy “Core Requirement 2.7.4: Documenting an Alternate Approach.”) (Course work for Degrees)
Through Carolina’s apparent knowledge that up to the department staff level in the African-American Studies program it was aware of the treatment Prof Julius Nyang’oro was giving towards student athletes. Taken from a July 28th article on “Keeping It Heel”…
Let’s clear this up before people who don’t know the full story get carried away with it. The scandal that involved the African-American Department at the University has everything to do with our athletes. However, the athletes have done nothing wrong. The issues in the department created a scandal because of the former professor and chair of the department, Julius Nyang’oro.
I completely agree with the author. The issue isn’t so much the student-athletes as much as it is the department staff. The athletes didn’t do anything wrong besides sign up for a pseudo-class that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sanctioned and credited for degree completion. That, however, means that the university sanctioned a course that, according to later reports, it had no control over seeing as how students rarely showed up and Prof Nyang’oro was even absent for. Therefore, UNC failed to show that it can demonstrate control over all aspects of it’s education program.
“The institution’s chief executive officer has ultimate responsibility for, and exercises appropriate administrative and fiscal control over, the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program. (Control of intercollegiate athletics)”
Chancellor Thorp has done an effective job at making sure that this scandal did not reach up to his office. The assistant head coach was cut of, the head coach was cut off, the athletic director was cut off, but Chancellor Thorp kept up the “I know nothing!” approach to this entire issue. Thorp, as the chief executive officer for UNC, has ultimate responsibility for athletics and the problems the athletic department has faced. The fact that the UNC Board of Governors has done nothing to publicly reprimand or investigate Thorp shows exactly how insulated this institution is trying to keep this academic scandal. If compliance with SACS accreditation standards is going to be maintained, Thorp must be reprimanded.
In order for Thorp to be reprimanded, the university will actually have to admit fault, first.
“The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas: (Institutional Effectiveness)
184.108.40.206 educational programs, to include student learning outcomes
220.127.116.11 administrative support services
18.104.22.168 academic and student support services
22.214.171.124 research within its mission, if appropriate
Carolina either (a) failed to note student learning outcomes or (b) noted the student learning outcomes and simply didn’t care. I honestly don’t believe word would have made it to Chancellor Thorp’s office that students didn’t learn jack-shit and the chancellor simply dismiss it, so I’m going to assume the correct answer is “a”. By failing to confirm the learning outcomes of the students, UNC did a disservice to the NCAA by spoofing the academic eligibility standards set forth for athletics and they spat in the face of SACS by ignoring their primary educational tasking… to education young minds.
“The institution demonstrates that each educational program for which academic credit is awarded is approved by the faculty and the administration. (Academic program approval)”
According to this requirement, if UNC was compliant, that would me that the faculty and administration would of been completely knowledgeable of Prof. Nyang’oro’s classes and what type of workload they required. As stated before, it’s hard to imagine an institution where one of these courses would earnestly be reported to the administration and no one whistle-blow what is going on (or that no one would have come forward in the last 2 years for media attention). Therefore, one has to assume that reporting of the various African-American studies courses was not being performed or, at the very least, that UNC failed to “demonstrate” that each program was approved.
I would love to see the official approval for a course whose administrative functions include not having a professor present for large periods of time.
“The institution regularly evaluates the effectiveness of each faculty member in accord with published criteria, regardless of contractual or tenured status. (Faculty evaluation)”
Prof Nyang’oro had taught at UNC as a visiting professor since the mid-1980s and was hired as a full time professor in 1990, being hired at chairman of the African-American Studies department in 1992. From 1992-2011 when he was released, during none of his “regular evaluations” did UNC point him out as someone giving out grades to athletes. UNC’s violation is either in not adequately evaluating Nyang’oro’s department or in failing to evaluate him at all.
“The institution operates with integrity in all matters. (Integrity)”
Saved for last, but certainly not least is Section 1.1 which is the catch-all for matters of integrity. There may be many complimentary words to describe UNC’s handling of their athletic/academic scandal, but “integrity” doesn’t come to mind. They have promised cooperation with their mouths while simultaneously blocking attempts to get to public records and dragging their feet in fulfilling legal requests for information. They have rarely admitted any fault throughout the entire NCAA investigative process and have done nothing of substance to look into their own misdeeds and come forth with a plan for fixing what is obviously completely broken.
UNC deserves to have their accreditation revoked or, at the very least, put on warning or some form of suspension (if there is such a thing). They have shown that, as an institution, they feel they are above the law and the fair standards that everyone at least pretends to play by.