Chancellor Carol L. Folt emailed the campus community on Tuesday, noting that she has received questions about recent news reports about claims by a former UNC basketball player, Rashad McCants, and subsequent reports based on an interview with basketball coach Roy Williams ’72.
“I want to assure you that we are doing our best to resolve remaining questions,” Folt wrote. “I also want to take this opportunity to reconfirm that we are going to respond to these questions at the right time and to provide some perspective as to how Carolina is moving forward.”
Folt and UNC System President Tom Ross ’75 (JD) hired a former federal prosecutor, Kenneth Wainstein, in February to examine academic irregularities involving fraudulent courses at UNC. “Until the investigation is complete, we may not be able to respond to each new report or allegation,” she wrote.
Later in the afternoon, Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham released a similar statement.
Here is the full text of Folt’s message:
Dear Carolina Community:
Over the past few days, I have received many questions from members of our community in response to an ESPN story on claims — some new, some not — regarding academics and athletics at Carolina. It is clear that our community cares deeply about these issues, and I want to assure you that we are doing our best to resolve remaining questions. I also want to take this opportunity to reconfirm that we are going to respond to these questions at the right time, and to provide some perspective as to how Carolina is moving forward.
First, we take reports of academic irregularities very seriously, which is why UNC President Tom Ross and I hired former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein in February to conduct an independent investigation into these very issues. Mr. Wainstein has full autonomy and authority to ask the tough questions and follow the facts wherever they lead. I believe we have a responsibility to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and University community at large to ensure we get this right, to empower Mr. Wainstein to investigate fully, thoughtfully and without any interference – and I encourage anyone who has relevant information to contact him directly.
This process takes time. Until the investigation is complete, we may not be able to respond to each new report or allegation. In some cases that is because we do not want to jump to conclusions or otherwise impede the investigation. In other cases it is because we must not violate our students’ federally protected privacy rights — even when doing so limits the extent to which we can correct inaccuracies and defend our former student-athletes.
Once we know the extent of Mr. Wainstein’s findings, which he will release to the public, we will take appropriate action, building on the significant reforms we have already implemented. At that time we will also be better equipped to respond to individual claims. Until then, we appreciate your patience and understanding. I encourage you to visit http://carolinacommitment.unc.edu to learn more about our ongoing work.
You and I know that Carolina is so much more than these immediate challenges. As I write this, I am reminded of our faculty and students who are conducting research and innovating to improve lives, as well as our alumni who are leading companies and founding non-profit organizations that serve our state and communities around the globe.
Finally, we recognize that we will remain part of the broader national conversation on these issues. As the nation’s first public university, we also have a responsibility to lead it – both with words and actions. We will do this thoughtfully, responsibly and thoroughly, in the finest traditions of this great University.
Carol L. Folt
Cunningham’s statement read:
Since Friday, there have been conversations inside and outside the Carolina Community about Roy Williams and Carolina basketball. I am proud to see the outpouring of support from former players and the basketball community at large, which reinforces the respect, integrity and care of student athletes that Coach Williams has shown throughout his career. Current and former players from across the country have told me that Coach Williams and his staff have always placed a priority on self-accountability inside the classroom. I have witnessed this myself.
Everyone here at Carolina wants to know all we can about past academic and athletic anomalies. But speculation and innuendo should not replace the independent investigation currently being conducted by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein. We must allow his work to be complete and thorough.
Bubba Cunningham, Director of Athletics