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Professor may go to jail for not attending classes

Published time: December 04, 2013 16:40
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.(Photo from pss.la.psu.edu)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.(Photo from pss.la.psu.edu)

A former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor accused of accepting money and handing out grades for a class he never held will plead not guilty.

Julius Nyang’Oro, also a former chairman of the university’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies, was indicted on Monday on a felony fraud charge. He allegedly accepted $12,000 to set up a lecture course that never met, even though students enrolled in the class and grades were handed out.

Nyang’Oro’s family and attorney, however, defended the former professor and said he will fight the charges in court.

“Dr. Nyang’Oro is presumed to be innocent under our law,” attorney Bill Thomas said to the News & Observer. “There’s been one side of this story that has been put forth in the press, but he’s going to have an opportunity to present his side. We intend to present his case in court. He is going to contest these charges.”

According to the Daily Tar Heel, Nyang’Oro was asked to resign by UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011 after the school learned he arranged numerous courses that were either taught sporadically or never held at all. Multiple investigations, including one conducted by former North Carolina Governor Jim Martin, found that Nyang’Oro had been orchestrating these kinds of classes since 1997.

The allegations also raised concerns that the athletics department was involved, since a large number of students enrolled in the classes were athletes. Ultimately, the arrangement was determined to be an isolated incidence, with Nyang’Oro and former department administrator Deborah Crowder primarily to blame.

The felony fraud charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 months with a conviction, though numerous outlets reported that Nyang’Oro would likely receive probation if he’s found guilty.

“We weren’t seeing a lot of criminal activity here,” Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall told the Daily Tar Heel. “There may have been academic fraud and improprieties, but that’s not illegal.”

UNC President Tom Ross told WRAL News that he supports the indictment against Nyang’Oro, and that new safeguards have been implemented to keep similar events from occurring in the future.

"There have been multiple investigations and reviews of these matters that should give us all assurance that we have taken all reasonable and available steps to uncover the facts of this situation," Ross said in a statement. "In addition, over the past two years, UNC-Chapel Hill and the UNC system have implemented extensive new policies, procedures and safeguards to prevent similar problems from ever happening again, and we believe these efforts are appropriate, comprehensive, strong and represent best practices."

The trial is currently scheduled to begin on December 17.


Comments (4)

 

Werdna S 06.12.2013 01:26

Higher education has been hit hard and not just by the occasional unscrupulous professor. Rather, big banks have managed to cash in on a student's federal loans by setting up unaccredited, for-profit universities.



 

Alex 04.12.2013 21:59

It doesn't meter if he plead quality or not. Most vent trough College and have seen enough.. We have seen professors as mandatory being late for 30 minutes at least and sometimes 45 and then in their insane lecture blaming admission employee's position as waste of money. We have seen deans never being in office but no one say anything for political correctness. We have seen students missing 80% classes and exams but passing with C. We have seen staff favoritism for own kind and barking on others. People know everything and will avoid their services no meter what you call it. True cannot be hidden and really painful.

 

britannica 04.12.2013 17:42

"“Dr. Nyang’Oro is presumed to be innocent under our law,”

Thi s isn't true any more, thanks to the PATRIOT Act, the NDAA, and BushBama the genocidal psychopath.

View all comments (4)
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