The investigation into UNC's "paper classes" is in, and it isn't something to be proud of:
A "woeful lack of oversight" and a culture that confused academic freedom with a lack of accountability helped more than 3,100 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill -- many of them athletes -- enroll and pass classes they never attended and which were not taught by a single faculty member.
At least nine employees have been fired or disciplined so far, though Carol Folt, UNC's chancellor, said the university will not name the employees. "I know the Carolina community will find these findings sobering," Folt said during a press conference Wednesday. "This never should have been allowed to happen."
Speaking of sobering, it wasn't just ill-prepared athletes who took part in this scheme, the Frat Boys soon discovered they could party until the sun came up and still show mommy and daddy an impressive grade point average:
These "paper classes" were designed as independent study courses. The only work required of the students was a research paper, and they were nearly guaranteed an A or a B no matter the quality. Forty percent of the 150 papers analyzed by investigators were at least 25 percent plagiarized, the report stated. These papers generally received A- grades. Later, Crowder created a different type of paper class that was designated as a lecture course. The course appeared in the catalog as having a meeting room and a meeting time, but no students ever met.
No faculty members were involved in the courses, with Crowder signing up students, assigning them their papers, and doing all of the grading. Word of how easy the courses were spread around campus, attracting other types of students -- most prominently members of UNC's fraternities, some of whom took so many courses in the department that they inadvertently minored in African and Afro-American Studies.
And just to say it: Something this controversial, well-known and enduring, could not have gone unrecognized by the University's administration.