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Pressure Building At UNC

If anyone thought the Wainstein Report would calm things down, they have another think coming.

Sylvia Hatchell has beat cancer. Can she also take on the accreditation people?
Sylvia Hatchell has beat cancer. Can she also take on the accreditation people?
Streeter Lecka

As we suggested the other day, far from being the end of UNC's problems, the Wainstein Report marks the beginning of the reaction.

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Among the most significant parties to react will be the Southern Association Of Colleges And Schools (SACS).

The President of the Association, Belle S. Wheelan, is somewhat taken aback and told the N&O that "It is huge. It’s bigger than anything with which we’ve dealt before. … I just don’t know in what direction the board is going to go."

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt somewhat disagrees, saying that "[SACS has] been very appreciative They say that we have been doing everything one should do, of course, to work with your accrediting agency. So I feel very confident that we can really work with them in a productive way."

Even from a distance, Folt is a charming, ebullient woman, and you get the sense that she draws on that a lot.

It's unclear how much it will help in this situation.

It might be good to see what has happened to other schools. Typically the problems deal more with financial problems than academic issues.

SACS stripped accreditation from Georgia's Brewton-Parker College in June over finances. Four other colleges were put on probation for financial issues.

SACS can opt for a warning or probation. We're not clear on whether a warning absolutely has to come first or not.

As we reported a while back, the president of Macalester College called for UNC to have accreditation suspended. This didn't go over well with the normally cheery Folt, who sounds pretty angry about President Brian Rosenberg's reaction:

"I actually think that was a pretty outrageous assertion from a president," Folt told the N&O. "I think maybe he didn’t understand that we’ve already been through this with SACS in principle and spent three years undergoing major review and putting in more than 70 different processes that they have approved."

Surely not. But Folt should pay attention to what Wheelan said: this is bigger than anything SACS has seen. The punishment may be correspondingly significant.

Also weighing in: women's coach Sylvia Hatchell. Hatchell has been left alone until recently, which was wise since she was battling leukemia (she kicked it in the ass too).

Hatchell's players had 114 enrollments in the paper classes between 1999 and 2009. She denies any knowledge and goes further, defending Jan Boxill, who is essentially disgraced by the Report:

"The whole student body took the classes," Hatchell told the Durham Herald-Sun. "We had kids in the classes, but probably 90 percent of my players here are African-American. Why wouldn’t they take the classes? It’s about their heritage. If I was African-American, I would probably want to take one too."

About Boxill, she said this:

"I’m not sure what to feel. I can read reports like everyone else, but also I have 29 years of a relationship with a person that I think the world of. Why do you think her peers were so adamant about her being the head of the faculty? All I can go on is my experience and my gut feeling… there’s no one I’ve worked with on this campus that’s more ethical than Jan Boxill...Jan’s my friend and she’ll always be my friend. I don’t turn my back on people."

Her friend may cost her program dearly and like Roy Williams, she is not necessarily out of the woods yet.

Ed Hardin has some extended thoughts on Roy Williams' walk out of the woods - if he gets to make it.

As we said, the Report marks a beginning, not an end. The end is still a ways away.