UNC Pays $3.1 Million For Wainstein Probe

The University has received an invoice for $3.1 million from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, the firm that employs Kenneth Wainstein and others who spent eight months investigating academic and athletic irregularities at UNC.

The invoice lists fees paid to Wainstein, who billed at $990 per hour, and for six associates and four paralegals. The total includes $115,775.42 for expenses and reflects a $60,000 discount and an additional $68,662.50 fee write-off by the firm.

It covers the firm’s work through October. UNC spokesman Rick White ’71 said that the firm is continuing to provide services to assist the University in preparing electronic materials gathered during the investigation for public records release, and that UNC would receive another invoice later.

The bill is being paid from earnings from the UNC-Chapel Hill Foundation Inc., which collects private donations and manages the University’s endowment.

Public documents produced by Wainstein include a 131-page report and two files of supplementary documents with some names and dates redacted, one 900 pages long and the other 229 pages.

Wainstein’s team found that Deborah Crowder ’75, who managed the office of the former department of African and Afro-American studies, started and maintained the department’s practice of offering the “paper classes” that are at the heart of a long-running investigation into academics and athletics at the University.

Crowder, who started working in the office four years after she graduated from UNC and stayed there until 2009, developed a system of independent studies classes — listed as lecture-taught courses but which involved only completion of a single research paper and no professor present — that had the blessing of the department’s then-Chair Julius Nyang’oro. Crowder organized 188 courses, assigned the papers, graded them with high marks that bore no correlation to the quality of the work and did not look for plagiarism.

The classes were disproportionately populated with varsity athletes, and athletes were steered to the classes by counselors in the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes. Wainstein’s report says the ASPSA was in part responsible for Crowder’s creation of what he called “a shadow curriculum” within the African and Afro-American studies department.

The report cites a number of key people who knew for years what Crowder was doing. Wainstein separated them into those who merely knew there were easy classes available in Crowder’s shop and those who also knew the classes advertised faculty involvement — mostly Nyang’oro — but provided none.

Chancellor Carol L. Folt said on the day the report was released that the University had fired four employees and was considering discipline for five others, although she would not reveal their names.

Jan Boxill, who teaches in the philosophy department and was chair of the faculty from 2011 until earlier this year, was removed from the directorship of UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics after the report stated that she was fully aware of Crowder’s scheme.

Six previous investigations of the issues included an outside probe by Former Gov. James Martin, who collaborated with the national consulting firm of Baker Tilly. Martin worked for free, and Baker Tilly was paid $488,000 its expenses and Martin’s.

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