In an article titled “Former UNC African studies manager won't be charged, but will cooperate with probe,” Stephen Miller, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation Department, discusses the recent investigation into UNC-Chapel Hill academics. Previous noncriminal investigations had found Deborah Crowder, a retired manager of the African and Afro-American studies department at UNC, was at the center of the creation of lecture-style classes frequented by athletes that never met and that typically provided high grades for those who turned in a term-paper at the end of the semester. But, on Tuesday, March 4, Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said that Crowder, who retired in 2009, would not be charged with any crime, but is expected to cooperate with a new investigation into the academic fraud, one that UNC leaders say will seek to find out how it happened and why. Woodall’s decision creates the potential that Crowder will be called upon to testify against the other central figure in the case: former longtime African studies department Chairman Julius Nyang’oro, 59, of Durham. Three months ago, Nyang’oro was charged with a low-level felony of obtaining property by false pretenses. Crowder’s cooperation gives Kenneth Wainstein, a well-known former U.S. Justice Department official, a big break as he begins the new inquiry announced last month. Despite several previous probes and reviews, how the bogus classes started remains a mystery. “That’s the critical piece that is currently missing, and in any inquiry, to the extent that you have an insider explaining the why, it makes all the paper facts come to life,” states Miller.
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