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Folt: A Travesty of Civility

Chancellor Folt has wisely asked the members of the UNC community to cool their jets in the controversy over student literacy:

Folt Civility2.jpg

The only problem with Carol’s plea for calm is that she and her Provost Jim Dean were the folks who began slinging mud in the direction of researcher/tutor Mary Willingham in the first place. Dean went so far as to call Willingham’s research a “travesty.” The Associated Press’ report in the Denver Post well summarizes the back and forth between Folt/Dean and Willingham. To your mind who is being civil here, and who is the aggressor?

Dean called it “flawed analysis” and said it was unfair to use the data to say students can’t read. Dean said the school will have outside consultants review their analysis of Willingham’s data.

“I’m not playing some kind of trick with this data,” Dean said. “This isn’t marginal. This is really quite central to the claims that have been made. And I take no joy in this. I think it’s very sad, actually.”

The school has stopped Willingham’s research until she receives approval from the school’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), saying she can’t continue to use data with information that could identify the subjects.

In an email to The Associated Press, Willingham said she is scheduled to go before the review board next week to go through the approval process.

“My data is 100 percent correct,” Willingham said. “In addition, I worked with the overwhelming majority of the students in the data set on reading and writing skills between 2004 and 2010.

“It’s interesting that my IRB was pulled and I was told that I could not talk about it until it was resolved, meanwhile the provost is allowed to discuss the findings. That is what is truly erroneous about all of this—and at a research university—wow. At UNC we protect our brand at all costs.”

And to think that there were a good many Trustees at Dartmouth who wanted Folt to be President. Fortunately, at least some members of our MBA Board could see a train wreck in the offing.

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