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Gov. Martin defends findings in UNC academic scandal

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TWC News: Gov. Martin defends findings in UNC academic scandal
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Gov. Jim Martin speaks out

To view our full interview with Gov. Jim Martin, click here.


RALEIGH -- Former Gov. Jim Martin stands by his findings that show a 15-year history of academic misconduct hundreds of courses at UNC Chapel Hill.

In a letter to a Raleigh newspaper published Thursday, Martin addressed scrutiny saying his report left some questions unanswered.

During an interview with News 14 Carolina, Martin responded to the accusations.

"Is there something out there that we couldn't find? I don't know. That's always possible."

Martin said he did everything within his power to uncover the academic misconduct at UNC.

"We found courses that had an unusual high number of A's awarded to the students. We found high numbers of grade changes," he said.

While his report reveals anomalies in over 215 Afro- and African-American Studies Department courses, some critics claim Martin's findings do not compare the number of student athletes and their grade changes to traditional students.

"They felt like there was more, that the coaches or athletic department was involved somehow in it," said Martin. "Certainly, the student athletes took advantage of these classes, but they didn't set them up. There was just one professor and one administrator and yet a lot people don't want to believe that. They want to believe worse. Well it's a free country, they can do that."

While conducting the investigation between last August and December, Martin said he did not have legal authority to make anyone testify.

The only two people he believes are responsible for the scandal, former department chair Julius Nyang'oro and his administrative assistant Deborah Crowder, did not return his calls.

"Many people want to believe that there were a lot of hands in it, that money was changing hands. We couldn't look at people's bank records because we don't have police power. That'll be up to the district attorney," he said.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall asked the State Bureau of Investigation to determine if there's any criminal violations in the scandal. Once he receives their findings, Woodall said he'll determine whether anyone received state funds for something they did not do.

He will also determine whether computer crimes or an act of forgery occurred.

Former State Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr said this is a very unique situation.

"I don't think I can ever recall a case where a university professor who is in this sort of circumstance. It's a very, very odd criminal context,” said Orr. "It's a very unusual set of circumstances where you have a professor being accused of receiving money from the state for services that he didn't perform."

Martin believes Woodall can determine once and for all if anything illegal occurred.

"I hope he does, I think it'd be important to say yes or no."

Woodall said it will take him at least a couple months to evaluate all the material the SBI produces. He said he expects to receive the SBI report by the end of the month or early February.

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