- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - The chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said Thursday there was “a failure in academic oversight for years” that led to fraud in a department with classes featuring significant athlete enrollments.

In remarks to school trustees, Carol Folt said the problems in the since-renamed African and Afro-American Studies department have “undermined our integrity and reputation.”

“Offering courses that were unsupervised was not reflective of the standards that we expect for our university,” Folt said. “And many students were involved in those courses. All of those students who were involved in those courses deserved better from us.”

Problems included lecture classes that didn’t meet and unauthorized grade changes. A 2012 investigation led by former Gov. Jim Martin found problems stretching back to 1997 and blamed the former department chairman - who has since been indicted for being paid to teach a class that didn’t meet - and a former administrator.

“We also accept the fact that there was a failure in academic oversight for years that permitted this to continue,” Folt said. “This too was wrong. And it has undermined our integrity and reputation. And it’s created a very unhealthy atmosphere of distrust.”

Folt, a former interim president at Dartmouth, is in her first year as UNC’s chancellor. She said that while “close to half” of enrollments were athletes, the school doesn’t have evidence that suspect classes were created to benefit them specifically.

“I think we all know that to move forward, we have to make sure that everyone understands that we actually do feel accountable and that we’re going to learn from that painful history,” she said.

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