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Exclusive interview with former UNC faculty leader Jan Boxill . . . the “fall guy?”

   
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Former UNC faculty leader Jan Boxill refutes NCAA allegations against her.

By Jan Stancill, News & Observer, 5-7-16

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The News & Observer released a 2,700-word longform exclusive interview in today’s (Sunday’s) issue.  Jan Boxill, former chair of the UNC faculty, teaching professor of philosophy and academic adviser to the UNC women's basketball team told her story for more than three hours at the Chapel Hill home of her lawyer, Randall Roden.

Boxill was accused of giving impermissible academic assistance to student athletes. She says she had no knowledge of the bogus class scheme that went on for 18 years in the African and Afro-American Studies department.  Kenneth Wainstein released his report detailing accounts of academic fraud in association with the athletic department at UNC during a press conference on Oct. 22, 2014, in Chapel Hill.  On the morning the report was released, Boxill was fired. She was accused of giving impermissible academic assistance to student athletes.  She says she had no knowledge of the bogus class scheme that went on for 18 years in the African and Afro-American Studies department.



Below is an expertly excerpted reduction of the N&O article.




Jan Boxill is reeling.


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Two weeks ago, the NCAA issued its latest allegations, which point with laser focus at Boxill, accusing her of giving "impermissible academic assistance and special arrangements” to women’s basketball players in 18 instances.


Gone from the amended document are last year’s specific references to football and men’s basketball . . .  Women’s basketball is clearly in the crosshairs as the process grinds toward a hearing and possible sanctions.



Boxill, 77, who was forced to retire last year, has kept quiet since she was first accused of wrongdoing in the 2014 report. But she agreed to speak with The News & Observer after she had read the latest allegations against her in the NCAA report.


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Boxill . . . . talked about decades of service at the university, where she took on many high-profile roles – teaching professor in philosophy, chair of the faculty, academic counselor for women’s basketball and director of UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics.  . . . . 


Boxill maintains she was not part of the fake class scheme in African and Afro-American Studies, led by former department chairman, Julius Nyang’oro, though she often recommended AFAM courses to her students. She said she had no idea the office manager, Deborah Crowder, was grading students’ papers, though Boxill emailed Crowder about students’ work and Crowder referred to "favors.”


The accusations against Boxill largely were based on emails between her and women’s basketball players. The emails paint a picture of a faculty member who had frequent exchanges with her students, providing content and ideas while they were writing papers.


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First and foremost, Boxill sees herself as a teacher who threw herself into working with students, many from under-served, minority and economically disadvantaged backgrounds who overcame obstacles to get to Chapel Hill.


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Former basketball players describe Boxill as someone they could lean on, someone who cared about their well-being off the court.


Dawn Bradley Cooper, who played at UNC from 1988 to 1992, graduated with an AFAM degree and went on to earn a master’s in education from Emory University. Now she’s an administrator with the University System of Georgia. She called Boxill an adviser, mentor and "mother” away from home.


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Wainstein, the investigator, drew starkly different conclusions about Boxill.


His 2014 report largely focused on Nyang’oro and Crowder’s "shadow curriculum” from 1993 to 2011, in which 3,100 students – disproportionately athletes – enrolled in AFAM classes where they earned high grades for little work. The classes didn’t meet, and students only had to turn in a final paper. Evidence showed football counselors relied on the classes to keep players eligible, and they fretted about the pending retirement of Crowder.


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Boxill said she communicated with Crowder because Crowder, as student services manager in AFAM, was the one responsible for scheduling classes. She said the "favors” were not about grades, but reserving spots in classes for students.


Wainstein concluded that there were 114 enrollments of women’s basketball players in the paper classes during a 10-year period, and many were "likely steered” by Boxill. His report said Boxill used the courses as "cushion” when a player needed additional credit hours or a grade boost.


"Jan Boxill was fully aware of the lax work requirements and grading standards in the paper classes and that Crowder played substantive and substantial role in the classes and the grading,” the Wainstein report said.


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On Oct. 22, 2014, the morning the report was to be released, Boxill was called to the office of UNC’s provost, Jim Dean. She went, expecting to be able to give her side of the story. She typed up a statement, describing when she learned of the paper classes.  . . . 

Boxill never had a discussion with Dean. He handed her a letter saying her career at Carolina was over.


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Tanya Lamb, a former player, attributes her survival in college to Boxill. Lamb, far from home, flunked out her first year, and Boxill gave her support after she left and took courses elsewhere. When Lamb returned to UNC, there were more problems, including an eating disorder and a weight issue that meant she was off the team for a season. After counseling, she rejoined the team for her senior year in 1992.


"I struggled. I was just a kid 3,000 miles away from home,” Lamb said. "I had a lot of issues and I didn’t have support. I didn’t have a family. I think that’s where Jan, really, you know, she filled a big void in my life.”


Lamb said Boxill’s helping hand had nothing to do with basketball. "Sometimes you can cross that line as an academic adviser or teacher, but I’m not talking in a bad way, it’s just, ‘How do I help this kid not fail? How do I help this kid not fall through the cracks?’ ”


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To read this interview in its entirety click here


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What the NCAA found


News & Observer, 5-7-16

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The NCAA found 18 instances when Jan Boxill gave "impermissible assistance and special arrangements” to an athlete. Here is an excerpt from the new Notice of Allegations from the NCAA. Dates and course numbers were redacted.




1. [NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 (2003-04 through 2010-11)]


It is alleged that from February 2003 to July 2010*, Jan Boxill (Boxill), then philosophy instructor, director of the Parr Center for Ethics, women’s basketball athletic academic counselor in the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes and chair of the faculty, knowingly provided extra benefits in the form of impermissible academic assistance and special arrangements to women’s basketball student-athletes.


Specifically:

a. Boxill provided the beginning of a paper in the form of an introduction and additional written content to a student-athlete to use in an unknown course. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


b. Boxill provided an annotated bibliography for a student-athlete to edit and use for an unknown course. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


c. Boxill provided the beginning of a paper in the form of an introduction for a student-athlete to use in her AFAM course. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


d. Boxill provided the beginning of a paper in the form an introduction and additional content to a student-athlete to use in her AFAM course. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


e. Boxill provided the beginning of a paper in the form of an introduction and additional content to a student-athlete to use in her AFAM course. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


f. Boxill provided a completed quiz for a student-athlete to use in a PHIL course. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


g. after reviewing a student-athlete’s incomplete paper for the course AFAM, Boxill added content to the student-athlete’s introduction and conclusion. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


h. Boxill provided the beginning of a paper in the form of an introduction and additional content to a student-athlete to use in her AFAM course. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


i. after reviewing a student-athlete’s incomplete paper for the course AFAM, Boxill added content to the paper in the form of a conclusion. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


j. after reviewing a student-athlete’s incomplete paper, Boxill added content in the form of several additional paragraphs to use in an unknown course. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


k. Boxill provided the beginning of a paper in the form of an introduction and additional content for a student-athlete to use in an unknown course. [NCAA Bylaw 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


l. after reviewing a student-athlete’s journal entries, Boxill added additional content in the form of a conclusion to one of the journal entries for an unknown course. [NCAA Bylaw 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


m. after reviewing a student-athlete’s incomplete paper for the course AFAM, Boxill added content to the paper in the form of a conclusion. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


n. after reviewing a student-athlete’s incomplete paper for course AFAM, Boxill added content to the paper in the form of a conclusion. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ( )]


o. after reviewing a student-athlete’s incomplete paper, Boxill added content to the paper by providing additional quotations to use in an unknown course. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


p. Boxill wrote to an instructor in the exercise science department and asked that the instructor provide a specific grade to a student-athlete in the course. This occurred after the conclusion of the semester. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


q. after reviewing a student-athlete’s incomplete paper for a psychology course, Boxill added additional content at the end of the paper. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


r. in an email communication with the African and AfroAmerican Studies department concerning a student-athlete’s paper, Boxill requested a grade to the department for the submitted work. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 16.11.2.1 ()]


This serves as part of the basis for the lack of institutional control allegation in Allegation No. 5.



NOTE: *The NCAA enforcement staff believes this allegation meets two exceptions to the statute of limitations in NCAA Bylaw 19.5.11. First, the factual information indicates a pattern of willful violations that began before and continued into the four-year period. Second, the factual information indicates a blatant disregard for the NCAA’s fundamental extra-benefit and ethical-conduct bylaws [and the enforcement staff satisfied the conditions identified in Bylaw 19.5.11-(c)].

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