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UNC’s Scandal: Travesty and Farce

The UNC adminstration has launched a full-on offensive against Mary Willingham’s allegations regarding student athletes’ reading levels (she not only analyzed student test scores but tutored most of the students):

Carolina disputed Willingham’s numbers Thursday in news releases and again Friday in the important Faculty Council…

[James] Dean, the provost, said to the faculty,”You’ve had these students in class. Using this data set to say that our students can’t read is a travesty and unworthy of this university and these claims have been unfair to the students, unfair the admissions officers, unfair to the university.”

Dean’s comments drew applause as he concluded his remarks.

But there was some support for Willingham in the room. One faculty member said Willingham took her role with athletes seriously and wasn’t out to get them.

“The suggestion that she is picking on athletes or denigrating athletes is just absurd,” the faculty member said.

And another faculty member rose to say UNC’s defense “seems like a stonewall.” That has been one persistent criticism of UNC during the scandal, that the school continued to say the problems weren’t widespread while media outlets continued to reveal more problems.[Emphasis added]

Carol is playing for keeps now. If the data, upon objective review, turns out to be legitimate, then the “travesty” charge is no more a venal smear. Heads will have to roll.

Willingham seems a credible source. Her affidavit in an ongoing antitrust case against the NCAA summarizes the situation of unprepared and ill-treated UNC athletes in a compelling manner.

Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert devotes the first three minutes of his Report to the UNC student illiteracy scandal:

The Colbert Report
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Perhaps we can congratulate Chancellor Folt for taking Dartmouth out of the national spotlight.

Addendum: Carol flew back to Washington with Presdient Obama, after the latter’s visit to North Carolina. She’ll be advising Obama on greater accessibility for students to higher education. To my mind, the President should pay as much heed to her advice on this subject as he does when Jim Kim talks to him about economic policy.

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