The unauthorized publication of the academic transcript of Julius Peppers ’02 on a UNC website resulted from a mistake by an internal computing staff person, according to the vice chancellor for Information Technology Services.
Larry Conrad said in a statement Thursday that the football star’s transcript was put on a secure server in 2001 for test and demonstration purposes without identifying language and that a second person moved it to an unsecured directory in 2007 and did not remove the identification.
Peppers issued a statement in mid-August regarding the publicizing of his UNC transcript, saying it was “upsetting” to see that it appeared. Peppers left Carolina after his junior year and now plays professionally for the Chicago Bears.
What originally was characterized by UNC officials as a “test transcript” — used to help students and advisers use a computer program that helps plot a student’s course of study — turned out to be Peppers’.
Questions arose over whether the transcript, which shows a low-performing academic record for three years — a 1.824 grade point average — was more evidence of academic fraud in the department of African and Afro-American studies, Peppers’ major. UNC officials acknowledged that student academic records are private and never should be published.
The News & Observer of Raleigh published this statement, released through Peppers’ agent, Carl Carey ’00 (PhD):
“This statement is in response to false allegations regarding my connection to an academic scandal within the University of North Carolina athletic and African-American Studies departments. This week has been an upsetting and challenging week for me, as one of my most private academic documents appeared on the university’s website for public examination. I’m terribly disappointed in the fact that my privacy has been violated, as well as frustrated with whoever negligently and carelessly committed such a flagrant error.
“However, it has caused me to have an important moment of reflection over the time that I was a student in Chapel Hill. During my undergraduate years, I, like many other students, was trying to find direction and adjust to being independent for the first time as a young adult. With this new freedom and unfamiliar environment, I will admit that, at times some of my priorities were not always aligned properly. Luckily, I had a great support system, including Dr. Carl Carey and the athletic academic department, who gave me much needed counsel.
“I can assure everyone that there is no academic fraud as it relates to my college transcript. I took every course with qualified members of the UNC faculty and I earned every grade whether it was good or bad. I was never given unapproved assistance or preferential treatment in terms of my academic career because I was a student-athlete. I was also never deemed ineligible to compete on any of the football or basketball teams.
“In hindsight, I am pleased with my undergraduate experience. UNC gave me the exposure and foundation I needed to follow my dream, which ultimately led to my chosen career path. Isn’t that what college is supposed to be for? Going forward, a decade later, I can honestly say that I now understand the importance of supporting students early in their college career. Presently, I’m thinking of ways that I can use my experiences and resources to help assist them. Thanks and Go Heels.”