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It’s been a while since Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall set his prosecutorial sights on former UNC-Chapel Hill Professor Julius Nyang’oro, head of the school’s African and Afro-American Studies Department in what has become to be known as an “academic” scandal enabling academically challenged athletes to remain academically eligible to play inter-collegiate sports. The biased media, with emphasis on The News & Observer, has placed Nyang’oro at the center of this brouhaha and painted him as the mastermind behind the unscrupulous practice of enrolling scholastically under-performing African American students in “no-show” classes and having tutor engage in ghost-writing reports and other class assignments.
With sickening relish in destroying the life and reputation of an African American professional, the N & O, as recently as Sunday, June 22, 2014, heralded the upcoming court appearance by Nyang’oro in a felony criminal case brought by the Orange County D.A. Woodall. It seems that Nyang’oro accepted $12,000.00 for teaching a class which did not meet and which was heavily enrolled by black student-athletes. After the media pounced on this apparent misstep by the professor, Nyang’oro stepped down as department chair, was forced into early retirement, and UNC-CH recouped its $12 grand salary by deducting it from Nyang’oro.
D.A. Woodall was all set to prosecute the head of the African American studies program when things happened which took the air out from under his wings… namely, the light of truth started to shine. The truth, which is plainly obvious to most Tar Heelians, is that Nyang’oro was in reality a very small cog in a very large academic turbo-engine which was designed to make UNC-CH competitive in football and basketball by making sure that the athletes remained academically eligible. To begin with, many of these athletes, as exposed by UNC whistleblower Mary Willingham, were not academically of college caliber… some close to being illiterate. Although they represented UNC on the gridiron and basketball court, these students were not recruited by Nyang’oro, and he did not advise them to enroll in his classes. Nyang’oro was nothing more than acting as a good soldier… following orders handed down to him by his superiors. Nyang’oro did not devise or implement the academic-fraud system… he merely executed it as demanded by those in high places. As a result of the athletic successes and championships, millions of dollars were brought to the school. It’s a fact that winning college sports teams bring in big bucks to the institutions they represent.
It is evident, especially with recent revelations by former UNC roundballer Rashad McCants that the 2005 NCAA national championship Tar Heel team owes its success in great measure to Nyang’oro whose classes allowed McCants and other star players on that team to remain eligible. UNC-CH should have given Nyang’oro an award for his fidelity to the school instead of forcing him out and using him as a scapegoat… fodder for a district attorney who has no scruples about criminalizing an innocent African American man. Truth be told, Julius Nyang’oro should be repaid his $12,000.00 salary because he conducted his class courses as demanded by those high up in the university’s chain of command… he enabled the athletes who struggled in the classroom to remain eligible. In no way did he defraud the school or the student-athletes. McCants, and other student athletes in his position were aware of how the academic-eligibility game was played and that their diploma would not be worth more than the sheepskin upon which it was printed.
In the June 21, 2014 issue of The News & Observer, Dan Kane begins the article “Wainstein probe reaches back” by stating “UNC-Chapel Hill wants to move forward, so Kenneth Wainstein first has to look back. In this case, way back.” I disagree with this premise totally. I have no problem with the university moving forward, but to hire an expensive legal firm to investigate the past is nothing more than a waste of money. According to the article, Wainstein has been conducting his investigation for at least four months with Wainstein personally being paid $990.00 an hour and three of his associates being paid anywhere between $440.00 and $775.00 an hour. How do they get away with demanding such outrageously high compensation? UNC system President Tom Ross tries to give assurances that the money going to pay these overpriced avaricious attorneys is not coming from taxpayer funds. I don’t believe that; and if that is the case, where is the money to pay them coming from? Undoubtedly the legal tab has risen far beyond the million dollar mark and the UNC system will logically recoup the amount spent on this ridiculous investigation by raising tuition. Although there may be no specific taxpayer fund footing the bill, the state institution can’t help but bilk Tar Heelian taxpayers out of millions of dollars. Well, at least, $12,000.00 of Nyang’oro’s pay will go towards paying for the investigation. Comforting to know, isn’t it?
Ross has given Wainstein and his firm free rein in the conduct of the investigation… and no wonder it is stretching back so far. The investigation is so encompassing because those doing the investigation are being compensated on an hourly basis. Nothing is to be gained by the Wainstein investigation. Everyone knows what happened… UNC-CH steered academically at risk athletes to “no- show” classes to assure their academic eligibility. By doing so, it made UNC-CH competitive in the high revenue generating NCAA basketball and football programs. What difference does it make who was responsible for putting together this academic-athletic fraud? Instead the UNC system should move forward and put in place measures to assure their athletes are qualified to do college level work, remove no-show classes, and see that athletes, and not tutors, read their assignments and write their reports. By doing so, however, UNC-CH will more likely than not become permanent cellar dwellers in the basketball and football standings… that is, unless all other universities in the ACC adopt the same standards.
Orange County D.A. Woodall, has likewise wasted taxpayer money by instigating the worthless felony prosecution of Nyang’oro. Facing the prospect of drawing in other high-ranking officials into the criminal prosecution of the black professor is the major impetus for Woodall to fall back from his prior aggressive stance in this case. Evidently, from the Wainstein investigation thus far, Woodall has learned what most Tar Heelians already knew… that Nyang’oro was merely acting in concert with a system which was already well established to insure the university fielded talented football and basketball teams. For Wainstein to proceed with the Nyang’oro prosecution would only reveal the true folly of the action taken by him against the dedicated and loyal university professor.
In order to save face, Woodall is claiming that he’s considering dropping charges because Nyang’oro is being cooperative in Wainstein’s investigation. Woodall would’ve found Nyang’oro cooperative had he conducted an investigation instead of prematurely jumping forward to indict Nyang’oro as a felon for accepting $12,000.00 in compensation for heading up “no-show” classes for the benefit of UNC-CH. In The News & Observer article of June 24, 2014, titled “Nyang’oro charge may be dropped,” Woodall actually seems to be shocked by Nyang’oro’s interaction with the Wainstein investigation saying, “It appears that Nyang’oro has cooperated fully with them and actually, I think, maybe gone over and above what was expected from him.”
UNC-CH history professor Jay Smith, who for some reason has been pressing for an in-depth investigation into the scandal, admitted that it struck him as odd that Nyang’oro is the only person facing a penalty for the scandal. It’s not so surprising when one considers that Nyang’oro is black. Unfortunately in this state in this post-civil rights era, race does matter. Of course, that is clearly evident in the Crystal Mangum case.
D.A. Woodall had absolutely no compunction about investigating then Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Clay Nichols for mishandling evidence in a Cumberland County murder case. But he has refused to investigate Nichols for proven allegations of perjury in Mangum’s trial (testifying that Reginald Daye’s spleen was removed at surgery eleven days prior to autopsy and therefore wasn’t available at autopsy, and yet describing the organ in detail in his autopsy report on Daye) and production of a false and fraudulent autopsy report. However, Woodall is in league with others, including Durham D.A. Leon Stanback, and the NC Attorney General’s Office in refusing to investigate the work product of Nichols in the Mangum case. That’s because it is too political and the Powers-That-Be who have hijacked the state’s justice system are sworn to see Mangum suffer retribution for her claims of being sexually assaulted at a March 2006 party hosted by Duke lacrosse players.
Make no mistake about it… Woodall is the type of district attorney the Powers-That-Be want at the reins of the important criminal/legal position. A district attorney who is malleable to the every whim of those in control, and a district attorney who is not moved by issues of morality and fairness. Former District Attorney Mike Nifong would never have indicted Professor Nyang’oro, and dollars to donunts he most definitely would have investigated Medical Examiner Nichols for his actions in the Crystal Mangum case. The reasons I believe Nifong would act thusly is because he has proven himself to be a man of integrity who is guided by precepts of ethics, fairness, and justice… a man possessing the independence and courage to fully commit to his conscience in doing the right thing.
These qualities with which Mike Nifong has been endowed marked him as a major obstacle in the takeover of the justice system, and that is the reason that he was forced from his elected position in the powerful district attorney position. To dissuade others from following in his footsteps, the State methodically persecuted Nifong while the biased mainstream media crucified him. The State and media collaborated in a demonization enterprise against Nifong that is not dissimilar to that used against Crystal Mangum.
To Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall I say: “I have the privilege of knowing Mike Nifong, and you, Mr. Woodall, are no Mike Nifong.” And that is the reason medical examiners will selectively not be prosecuted for producing fraudulent autopsy reports and committing perjury at trial. That is the reason why innocent African American professionals will be preyed upon solely for the purpose of ruining their lives and reputations. That is why all Tar Heelians are currently living under a legal system in which justice has been corrupted and hijacked.