Why bother pulling your Forbes piece, Darren?

Of course, there’s a cached version of Darren Heitner’s Forbes piece, “University of North Carolina’s Fraud Running Deeper.”

Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Martin’s full response to Heitner’s post is after the jump, but here’s his closing paragraph:

For your writers to use innuendo to accuse me of “borderline fraudulent statements” is rather harsh, given that they know nothing, and rely on one erroneous news story. Mark Twain said “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” He was joking about that, of course, as am I.

The was posted below with the Forbes article:

Jim Martin, Former Governor of North Carolina, responds:

Let me respond to your criticism (based solely on the Raleigh News and Observer) of my review of academic misconduct at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I was assisted by the Baker Tilly firm in examining the computer data on every course section offered by every instructor to every student for the last 18 years. We compared results for all athletes, and non-athletes, including fraternities and other student organizations. We found evidence of a serious academic fraud and reported it two weeks ago.

My conclusion that the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes raised questions at the Faculty Athletic Committee about so many forms of “independent studies” was based on four witnesses who were there, and several others who knew about it, and on a separate report of a special subcommittee of the Faculty Executive Committee, and on the actual Minutes of the April 2002 meeting of the Faculty Athletic Committee. They were told not to worry about pedagogy, as instructors had wide latitude how to teach courses.

The Minutes report that THE major item of the April 2002 agenda was “Independent Study Registrations by Student Athletes.” There is a nearly 200-word description of that discussion and a 2-page attachment, “Report on Independent Studies.” The latter describes seven independent studies courses of different kinds, two of which were in the African and Afro American Studies Department (AFRI/AFAM). As is typical with Minutes, there is no verbatim account of who said what to whom. We relied on witnesses who were there. This issue has remained a concern of the Committee. Athletes’ Counselors have taken the view that if a course is offered by the Faculty, it is legitimate and any student may enroll if eligible. That is clearly an academic issue, and a very serious one.

Only one witness has now come forward to dispute this, as you stated. It is curious that he would deny that there was any discussion, when the Minutes show that it was discussed, and that it was a continuing concern. Perhaps you and the News and Observer should have questioned his motives the way you questioned mine.

For your information, I devoted the better part of the previous four months to dig out as much as could be documented. My report found strong evidence that the anomalous courses in AFRI/AFAM (approved lecture courses that in fact did not meet but required only one term paper) began in 1997, a few months after it got full departmental status. Other AFRI/AFAM faculty had their signatures forged on grade rolls and grade changes, but no evidence was found that implicated anyone in the scandal other than the department chairman and administrator.

No evidence was found that any other academic department had any similar abuse. No evidence was found of collusion with any coach or other official in the Athletics Department, or its booster club, whose financial records we examined in detail. You and others may find this hard to believe, but I believe that findings and conclusions should be based on evidence, not hearsay and imagination.

For your writers to use innuendo to accuse me of “borderline fraudulent statements” is rather harsh, given that they know nothing, and rely on one erroneous news story. Mark Twain said “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” He was joking about that, of course, as am I.

Respectfully,

Jim Martin
Former Governor of North Carolina

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