UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor to Step Down at End of June

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Thorp to Resign After Scandal
Holden Thorp, chancellor for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, pauses while speaking during an event in Durham, North Carolina, on April 25, 2011. Photographer: Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg

Holden Thorp, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will step down in June after college athletes and faculty were implicated in an academic cheating scandal.

Thorp, who became chancellor in 2008, notified UNC President Tom Ross yesterday of his intent to resign on June 30, saying it was in the best interests of the university, the school said today in a statement on its website.

The resignation follows the results of investigations that found academic misconduct and unauthorized grade-changing in the college’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies. In March, the school’s football program was put on three year’s probation and banned from 2012 postseason play by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for rules violations including academic fraud.

“I have pledged that we will be a better university, and I am 100 percent confident in that,” Thorp said in the statement. “We still have work to do, and I intend to be fully engaged in that until the day I walk out of this office.”

The NCAA imposed the sanctions after finding a number of rules violations. The college sports governing body found that a former UNC assistant coach was paid by a former sports agent for access to athletes, and a former tutor wrote parts of class assignments for three football players. The tutor also paid for athletes’ airplane tickets and parking fines, the NCAA said.

Three Reviews

Ineligible football players were allowed to compete during three seasons and athletes received impermissible benefits worth more than $31,000 in total, the NCAA said.

UNC produced a report May 2 after conducting its own investigation of the allegations. Thorp has commissioned three more reviews, the school said in its statement. Those will look at the new academic procedures and controls implemented at the school; whether academic misconduct occurred before 2007; and the future relationship of academics and athletics at the university.

UNC’s board has also questioned Thorp about the resignations of fundraisers Matt Kupec and Tami Hansbrough, the mother of former UNC basketball star Tyler Hansbrough, according to the Charlotte Observer. The two school officers, who were known to be dating, stepped down after they were found to have questionable travel expenses, the newspaper reported last week.

Thorp will return to the faculty of UNC’s chemistry department, where he was a longtime professor, researcher and a former chairman, the school said in the statement.

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