CHAPEL HILL: DA considers charges against UNC professor - WFLA News Channel 8

Orange Co. DA considers dropping charges against former professor

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Julius Nyang'oro is accused of receiving $12,000 for teaching a lecture course in 2011 filled with primarily football players and required only a research paper. Julius Nyang'oro is accused of receiving $12,000 for teaching a lecture course in 2011 filled with primarily football players and required only a research paper.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

Orange County's district attorney said Monday that he is considering dropping charges against a former University of North Carolina professor accused of accepting money to teach a lecture course that never met.

District Attorney Jim Woodall said he will "seriously consider dismissing" a federal criminal charge against Julius Nyang'oro "based on his cooperation" in an investigation into an academic scandal involving lectures within UNC Chapel Hill's Department of African and Afro-American Studies that allegedly never met.

Nyang'oro is accused of receiving $12,000 for teaching a lecture course in 2011 filled with primarily football players and required only a research paper. A university review reported 2 years ago that academic advisers referred athletes to enroll in those classes.

U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein is looking into the causes of fraud in the department, which Nyang'oro also chaired at the time of the reported scandal.

Woodall did not go into detail about how Nyang'oro has cooperated with the investigation, but said he has provided "critical" information.

"I think he has provided Wainstein with what he considers real critical information in his investigation that he could not get from anybody else in a case where, frankly, the money's been paid back," Woodall said.

The school recouped the money paid to Nyang'oro for teaching the classes from his paycheck when Nyang'oro was forced into an early retirement in the summer of 2012.

Woodall said his decision whether he would drop the charge could come within the week.

Jay Smith, a history professor, is pushing for more information in the case. 

“I'm disappointed that the public at large will not get the chance to hear professor Nyang'oro's defense, or hear the testimony of relevant UNC officials," Smith said in a written statement. He added, "The fact that the whole affair now drops back behind the curtain where certain kinds of information can be manipulated or ignored leaves me very troubled. I have met Ken Wainstein and have much confidence in his intelligence and integrity, but it doesn't smell right to me that the DA would sacrifice the opportunity for public disclosure in favor of a private investigation paid for by the entity being investigated. Who are the beneficiaries here? Nyang'oro and UNC. The losers? The public.”

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