UNC Whistleblowing Academic Gets Death Threats
It looks as if the grand high poobahs at the University of North Carolina, its academic boosters, and the NCAA are having serious trouble wrapping their brains around how seriously bad the scandal involving bogus courses for athletes is making one of the otherwise finest universities in the country look.
The death threats, Mary Willingham expected.
More shocking is that the University of North Carolina is now disavowing her research as a whistle-blower — research that showed between 8% and 10% of the school’s football and basketball players are reading below a third-grade level.
UNC issued a statement Wednesday night saying it did not believe Willingham’s account of a basketball player who could not read or write.
It went on: “University officials can’t comment on the other statistical claims mentioned in the story because they have not seen that data. University officials have asked for that data, but those requests have not been met.”
As well as questioning UNC many times about the story before publication, CNN has also detailed Willingham’s research.
And purported e-mail exchanges obtained by CNN since August show that Willingham did share her findings at least twice — once with Executive Vice Provost James W. Dean Jr., and once with a member of a university committee on academics and athletics.
In addition, Willingham says her research on the students in the athletics programs that make money for the university was done based on screenings that the university itself paid for. And, she says, she has gotten permission from the university several times since 2008 to access those findings to continue her research.