Chapel Hill’s Eminent Distinguished Plagiarist

The recent academic history of UNC Chapel Hill is really stinky — just a shitload of scandals — so you might think faculty and administrators there would be superduper careful not to add to the world’s growing sense that a once-respectable school has become a cesspool. But the awesomely titled vice-chancellor — FOR RESEARCH — a man not only eminent, but also distinguished, has been outed as a plagiarist.

In a grant application … but you and I know that soon enough many other instances of his plagiarism will be uncovered… though he seems to have convinced the ninnies at Chapel Hill that this is his one and only eminent distinguished theft from multiple sources, cuz they’re not really punishing the dude.


Remember UD‘s tripartite plagiarism scheme (refresh your memory here). In this instance, we have Category One: ATELIER. Dude’s simply too esteemed and illustrious to bother writing his own grant applications or (UD feels certain we’ll discover) research papers, etc., etc. He relies on an atelier, his very own workshop of Santa’s elves, to do all his work for him, and he has fallen victim to the same thing all the other busybusybusy atelier-overseers (see oodles of Harvard law professors) fall victim to – he doesn’t review the work that goes out under his name. If you’re going to oversee, you need to oversee!

In short: I didn’t plagiarize! The dumb-dumbs that plagiarize on my behalf plagiarized. I give you my pledge: There’s gonna be a helluva shakeup on my staff and the new crew will know how to plagiarize and not get caught.


Mr UD: “A reasonable punishment would be a fifty percent reduction in his adjectives. He’s currently the Kay M. & Van L. Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor of Genetics. The choice is his, but he must lose either Eminent or Distinguished.”


Update: Yeah. Well. Initial reports that he’d get a slap on the wrist sounded way dumb to ol’ UD, and, as she suggests up there in this post, you don’t deal with a plagiarist in that way. You fire a plagiarist. Esp. one in charge of research for the whole school! Mamma mia.

And that is now what has happened.

Terrific, thoughtful piece in the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill student newspaper…

… about the sordid sell-out (“probably the most damaging thing I’ve seen personally”) its curriculum turned out to be in the exposure of its world-famous athletics scandal. The article is, in the words of Roger DeBris, drenched with historical goodies, including the altogether too fine irony of the provost lecturing UD‘s buddy Jay Smith on the ever-so-important business of curricular integrity:

I strongly believe that University leaders can and should maintain oversight over course offerings, which includes the right to participate in individual course selection decisions. [While faculty have the right to teach, investigate and publish freely,] the exercise of these rights should not interfere with the overriding obligation of an institution to offer its students a sound education.

This from the school whose leaders for twenty years oversaw hundreds of totally bogus courses. This by way of explaining why Jay’s course in the history of the scandal and the corruption of university sports generally just… wouldn’t do… wouldn’t be up to the strict intellectual standards of… oh, let Jay say it:

It’s so great. It’s a great irony, that we had such lax oversight for so long, that completely phantom classes just fell off the radar of the dean’s office and were allowed to propagate, and proliferate, for two decades. And that a course that, in part, examines the culture and the mechanisms that made that failure possible, and puts all of it in historical context, is regarded as suspicious.

It’s the Blanche DuBois syndrome down there, y’all. I mean, when you’re a totally broken down ol’ thing and not only do you not know it, but you’re flouncing around all superior-like…

New faculty at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill must sign a “Community Life Covenant”…

… in the wake of the ongoing Professor Jay Smith… unpleasantness. Beginning in September 2019, all teaching/research hires will be asked to certify the following:

I, _______ _________, having accepted a lectureship/professorship at UNCCH, do hereby swear, with all my heart, all my soul, and all my might, the Faith Priority of my school’s major sports teams (viz., football and basketball). Specifically, I pledge strict obedience to the Gaming Imperatives issued by our coaching staff, as well as by any in-residence professional agents seeking to recruit future clients, as those imperatives relate to professors, tutors, graduate students, and anyone else in a position of responsibility relative to the education of our players.


UD thanks John.

Chapel Hill’s Notoriously Clueless and Stonewalling Faculty/Athletics Person, Joy Renner…

… gets a university-wide prize for doing her part to maintain the illusion (is there anyone left who actually holds this illusion?) that disgraced jockshop University of North Carolina is a serious institution of higher education.

Chapel Hill’s new awardee (name: Joy)
Gets a prize for maintaining the ploy
That full-time sport jocks
Prioritize Locke
Over the next game against Illinois.

Limerick, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

The next student athlete to speak
Is defensive lineman Tydreke:
“Coach told us ‘Test learning disabled.
All courses not AFAM are tabled.
And oh by the way you’re all freaks.'”

UD thanks Dave.

‘Dramatic art professor Bobbi Owen is the only person facing disciplinary action [for the University of North Carolina bogus courses scandal] who has tenure. Owen was senior associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences from 2005 to 2014. According to Wainstein’s report, she asked Nyang’oro to cut back the volume of his independent studies. Despite being aware of issues, Owen apparently did not mention them to “anybody above her in the administration,” the report said.’

Owen needs to explain more than her failure to mention to anyone a grotesque situation in the AFAM department. In response to a “Board of Governors member who asked [Owen in 2012] if the academic support staff was steering athletes to particular classes,” she responded:

“I hope not. I believe that they understand their responsibility to support the student and to help them make wise choices, but it is not in their purview to direct students to particular courses.”

However – given the fact that she’s been disciplined – she probably knew perfectly well that that’s exactly what was happening: Academic support staff were steering athletes to bogus classes.

Then there’s Owen’s remarkable lack of curiosity.

[Owen] learned roughly nine years ago that the department was offering far more independent studies than it could manage, and told [head of AFAM chair Julius] Nyang’oro to reduce them, the report said. But she never investigated why there were so many in the first place.

Yes, Julius, how about bringing them down from 150 to, say, 100? That would be more seemly…

It all makes UD nostalgic for Thomas Petee, chair of Auburn University’s “dumping ground for athletes,” aka the sociology department. Petee, like Nyang’oro, worked his balls off, typically taking on dozens and dozens of independent study students a semester.

Indeed, keep in mind, if you want to create a dumping ground for athletes in your university, that these guys – Petee and Nyang’oro – were both department chairs. That’s important. For bogus course schemes to work at maximum efficiency at sports factories like Auburn and Chapel Hill you really need a department chair to run them, because chairs have more institutional power than regular faculty, and because regular faculty in totally deeply corrupt departments can be counted on to keep their traps shut. They don’t want to piss off the chair, who must be hugely powerful – untouchable – if he’s able to get away with what he’s been getting away with for decades.

It’s obviously icing on the cake if you’ve got a dean in on it too.

The Path to an African and Afro-American Studies Minor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Huge numbers of non-athletes took the notorious fake courses staged by the chair of African and Afro-American studies and his administrative assistant. Fraternities in particular, given their close connection to athletes, knew all about them. As the report on the almost twenty year hoax notes:

[When interviewed, members of fraternities] said that some of their non-athlete fraternity brothers took so many of the [bogus] classes that they inadvertently wound up with minors in African and Afro-American studies.

This is a great example of an argument UD has encountered ever since she started writing this blog: Big-time athletics benefits the whole university.

The State of North Carolina’s Diploma Mill and the Scandal of the A-

Taxpayers subsidize a school in Chapel Hill that embodies the athletic dreams of their great state, and it has always been the responsibility of its board of trustees (The trustee page includes nicknames for each of the trustees. Haywood Cochrane is “Haywood,” Peter Grauer is “Peter,” Kelly Hopkins is “Kelly.”) to retain faculty who understand the foundational values of the institution.

A one-paragraph final paper for a recent course at the mill – a paragraph plagiarized from the first page of a reader designed for third graders – has gone viral and why not. Why the hell not. Its grade was A minus.

People – especially the people footing the bill, which is to say the citizens of North Carolina – have every right to know why they paid for that minus, what the fuck that itty bitty tail is doing trailing that A like some pointless right offensive guard just standing there along the side of things taking up room on the field. Whenever you give a revenue athlete a grade, you’re sending one of two messages: We love you, and ever since we debased ourselves beyond belief to recruit you, our love has only grown; or We take it upon ourselves to judge you. To actually judge you and give you a minus.

Which one will it be, Tar Heels???

You take a school like the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

A school that’s been little other than a school for scandal for as long as UD can remember. Here’s a recent recap of only its very latest scandals.

UNC currently is on probation for wide-ranging major violations in football, including impermissible benefits from agents to players. The football program was given a postseason ban and other serious sanctions, and the scandal led to the firing of football coach Butch Davis, the retirement of athletic director Dick Baddour and ultimately played a role in the resignation of chancellor Holden Thorp.

In addition, the school has been rocked by an academic scandal that centered around bogus classes in the African-American Studies Department. A significant number of athletes – including many football and men’s basketball players – were enrolled in the classes…

With that as context, the timing of a potential legal and NCAA issue involving the leading scorer on the 2012-13 Tar Heels basketball team is hardly ideal.

As another observer puts it:

UNC has become the butt of jokes and the home of collegiate scandals, inquests, NCAA penalties, disgraced university employees, fired professors and departed football coaches, athletics directors and chancellors.

Yet this same observer claims that before this, UNC boasted

centuries of clean living, academic propriety and athletic purity.

Really? Are you prepared to go with that description? I mean, all grody sports schools do this – they all lament a golden age of propriety and purity, now sadly temporarily tarnished… Penn State was amazing on the subject…

Eh. Let ’em.

Let ’em sit in the local bar bawling into their beer about how great and true it used to be.

“Blanchard said he raised his concerns after a scandal at Auburn University that was reported by The New York Times in July 2006. In that case, a sociology professor had offered 272 independent studies to students in one year. Many Auburn athletes used the courses to boost their grade point averages. Committee minutes for the November 2006 meeting make reference to the Auburn case.”

Now see, that’s good. That’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to read the newspaper, note disastrous academic scandals that have exactly the same M.O. as stuff going on at your campus, and alert academic authorities.

John Blanchard
was a senior associate athletic director at the now-notorious University of Carolina Chapel Hill, and he has said, in an interview with some of the many people reviewing that sorry school’s decades of academic fraud (a fraud only uncovered by a very determined local newspaper), that he did just this. He said look at POS Auburn – do we really want to be like them?

But although Auburn was discussed, nothing came of it. The head of UNC’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies continued proliferating bogus courses for athletes, exactly the way Auburn’s chair of sociology, Thomas Petee, did.

Actually, UNC went further than Auburn. It hired a sports agent, with ties to current players, to teach a course.

Too Many Scandals.

Out goes the chancellor of the University of North Carolina, zillions of sports, academic fraud, and misuse of funds scandals trailing him. His firing/resignation probably means there are yet more scandals looming.

This local commentary is interesting, along the lines of Other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play:

Otherwise, Thorp seemed [to] have the makings of an excellent chancellor.

Reverse Transcriptase at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Researchers at UNC are exploring the question of how a football player’s transcript got reverse engineered in such a way as to appear plastered all over the national press.

The details of the transcript, particularly the fact that [Julius] Peppers took three independent study courses in the now scandal-ridden [African and Afro-American Studies] department, raise troubling questions amidst the unraveling of one of the most damaging scandals in the University’s history.


If the transcript does, in fact, belong to Peppers, it digs the university deeper into an already damaging scandal. An internal review of the African Studies Department found that the majority of the aberrant courses were administered beginning in 2007, but this development would mean that the trouble began much earlier. It would also add to the growing speculation that athletes have been specifically pointed toward African Studies classes by counselors assigned to the athletic department.

And speaking of counselors:

Peppers’s agent, Carl Carey was also his academic adviser while at UNC and helped him get a re-test on a failing grade that would have ruled him academically ineligible.

Impressed? Impressed that Carey has worn two hats – agent and counselor? Well, hold on to your hat, because that number is three: Carey also taught at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill!

[AF/AM department chair Julius] Nyang’oro reportedly hired Carl Carey Jr. to teach a course this summer without telling Karen Gil, dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, that Carey is a sports agent.



(UD thanks Dave.)


Oh – apparently there’s a bidding war for Julius Nyang’oro going on between Auburn and Clemson.

“I certainly trust the basic integrity of our courses and our faculty, and believe they’re doing their jobs,” [the dean of Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences] told [a] UNC system [review] panel. “But it has been a struggle for us, as you know. It has been difficult to convince people that that is true.”

Following the massive academic fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is essentially following the entire leadership of a school – president, deans, high-ranking faculty – attempting to convince people that this leadership saw no difference between a department flagrantly run for the convenience of its athletics program and all other departments.

These people are attempting to convince us that despite well-established fraudulent procedures along these lines at many big-time sports schools – clustering of players into certain majors, department chairs who are nothing more than tools of the athletic program, tutors who cheat on behalf of players, the use of the designation “independent study” to create rafts of bogus courses – all signs of sports-sponsored academic fraudulence on their campus “escaped attention,” in the words of a dean.

No wonder they are having difficulties persuading us to believe that – despite SUNY Binghamton, Auburn, and all the other recent national academic fraud stories with exactly these elements – no one at Chapel Hill had enough distrust in the integrity of its catering-to-athletes department to investigate even a little. We’re supposed to believe that, until the unfolding of a series of events entirely outside the hands of the school’s leadership, everyone trusted in the integrity of this department and its chair.

It’s tawdry and pathetic. It’s insulting to all of us watching as UNC simply and repeatedly lies. It’s particularly insulting to the taxpayers of North Carolina who pay the salaries of corrupt department chairs and cynical administrators.

A university whose systemic academic fraud was so bad that observers were positioned in classrooms TO MAKE SURE that professors met their classes…

… tops that one by denying tenure to a scholar whose qualifications outshine almost everyone on the Chapel Hill faculty.

Not at all surprisingly, Nikole Hannah-Jones, having ultimately dragged tenure out of these dummies, immediately dumped the place for another institution. That was exactly the right thing to do: Make your point, embarrass UNC, and leave its sports-mad ickiness behind you in a cloud of dust.

Not that Howard, where Hannah-Jones has accepted a position, is a paragon. I’ve followed Howard University on this blog for years, and it’s got a pile of problems. But at least it’s trying to solve them.

“[A]dministrators are making surprise inspections in class to make sure courses are actually taking place.”

Remember the fallout from the massive 2013 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill fake courses scandal? When it finally became known that for decades tons of administrators and more than one professor had colluded to provide hundreds of bogus courses to generations of athletes (football and basketball players are far too important to bother educating), all professors at the school had to endure spot checks to make sure they actually met their classes. To make sure their classes actually existed.

UD thought of that sordid humiliating history (history? for all I know, UNC still does it) when she watched this little film featuring responses of some George Washington University history students to the revelation that one of their professors has been faking blackness.

One of them said this:

We’re all gonna have to be tested now on whether we’re telling the truth [about ourselves] … I’m gonna have to take some DNA test to prove I’m half Jamaican…

Ya see how trust makes the academic world go ’round? And when you take advantage of that trust by creating a vast kingdom of fake courses, or by creating a bogus black identity for yourself, you destroy the whole trust infrastructure, right? So now people have to surprise you while teaching — minders have to roam the halls checking on whether you actually have the basic morality to bother meeting your students. And people may need to administer DNA tests to make sure you’re the minority you claim you are…

Of course, it’s not only about trust. Department chairs, deans, provosts, hell – BOTs! – colleagues who read your work with care and get to know you, scholars from the larger disciplinary community who sit on panels and committees with you, student evaluations (if anyone at GW had bothered to lower herself so far as to check Krug’s Rate My Professors page, the university might have avoided this disaster – the students were madly signaling that this woman was full of shit) — all of these and more are supposed to verify that you have scholarly and personal integrity.

So this is in part an unfair question:

Why the clever teachers and students at GWU didn’t twig that this was all a bit forced, all a bit am-dram, is something worth interrogating.

Krug’s RMP page makes her fraudulence quite clear; and UD feels confident that many internal GW student evaluations amplified the RMP verdict. We’ll never know for sure, cuz I figure GW is busy shredding them. It’s faculty that didn’t twig, though it was all right there in front of them.

I mean, it’s not as if Krug hid her killing kids is a revolutionary act remarks – she made them at a scholarly conference at Columbia University, mes petites.

The Jessica Krug fiasco was made possible by a toxic mix of total indifference (why bothering reading the work of your colleague? and RMP is bogus, everyone knows that…) and raging political correctness. Someone up or down the line of people who were supposed to act responsibly in regard to tenuring for life a new colleague knew exactly what they were doing: Krug was a comrade, woke to the need to kill enemies of the people and to abuse black and brown people for not being radical enough.

Understand? Someone knew all of this about Krug and, precisely because of what she was, wanted to tenure her!

Knowing there are rancid ideologues like this in your department/administration, why the hell would you pass on this sort of decision? Do you not understand that you are a gate-keeper?

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