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Accreditation Agency Is Not Playing Around With UNC

It's a polite letter but angry nonetheless and with some extraordinary implications.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls for UNC.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls for UNC.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has sent UNC a letter about its status after the Wainstein Report, and it's not good.

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SACS questions UNC's "institutional integrity" first, alleging that UNC was "not diligent" about getting information to the committee which reviewed this mess.

SACS also believes that two people withheld information about the scandal.

From Dan Kane's article in the News & Observer:

"UNC has until Jan. 7 to provide a response to the commission’s concerns that the university had not been meeting a wide range of standards. Several standards pertain to athletics, including proper oversight by the chancellor, admission of athletes who can succeed academically and the operation of a tutoring program that has the expertise and integrity to assist athletes properly.

"The commission also wants UNC to demonstrate that faculty and staff are properly reviewed, lecture classes are meeting as intended and independent studies have integrity. Faculty charged with watching over athletics to protect UNC’s academic integrity must have the authority to do so..."

The full letter is here. Among the concerns listed aside from integrity: control of athletics, admission policies, academic policies, academic support services, faculty evaluation and faculty role in governance.

These seem to correspond to points made in the Wainstein Report and rather significantly widen what SACS dealt with previously. In a nutshell: don't let in people who are incompetent, don't do their work for them, don't let people be chairs for 20 years and where the hell was the faculty council while all this was going on?

All of these issues can be corrected; the troubling part is the notion that people were less than honest in the previous review. That could cost UNC dearly.

Also listed a bit further down, SACS is unhappy that student records were not kept and so cannot be reviewed.

And the conclusion:

In accord with Commission policy on the receipt of unsolicited information, the institution's response will be reviewed, and if Commission staff determines that the information is of factual substance and is accreditation related the information and documentation, along with [UNC's] response will be forwarded to the SACSCOC Board of Trustees for formal review. Or, it is possible that the President of the SACSCOC could authorize a Special Committee to review the institution.

It's an iron fist in a velvet glove. But what about that "if it's found to be factual?" Is that meant to be a slap in the face for not being forthcoming previously?

Either way, everyone in UNC's upper echelon just got put on notice: do not screw with us again, and this is going to be taken to another level as soon as we hear back from you clowns.