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UNC hires independent attorney for new academic investigation

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has retained an outside attorney to conduct an independent inquiry of academic irregularities at the school, according to a release from the University.

University of North Carolina system President Tom Ross and UNC Chancellor Carol L. Folt retained the services of Kenneth L. Wainstein to investigate information that is now available from Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall, the University said.

Woodall and the University have been in contact regarding fraudulent courses in the former Department of African and Afro-American Studies. Woodall has indicated he will cooperate with the inquiry from Wainstein.

The University said Woodall can now share information with Wainstein acquired by his office during the criminal investigation.

Wainstein is a partner with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in Washington, D.C. and served as general counsel and chief of staff to the FBI, and was twice nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate for leadership positions in the Justice Department.

"We — the UNC Board of Governors, UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, Chancellor Folt and I — have said all along that we would re-evaluate next steps once the SBI had completed its investigation," Ross said. "Chancellor Folt and I felt strongly that this would best be handled by bringing in the outside, independent perspective of an experienced professional like Ken Wainstein."

In 2012, former Gov. Jim Martin's report to the UNC Board of Trustees said no UNC coaches knew, or should have known, about the academic problems in the African and Afro-American Studies program and only to limited Julius Nyang'oro.

Nyang'oro, who was forced into an early retirement in the summer of 2012, was indicted in December on one felony charge of obtaining property by false pretenses for accepting pay for teaching classes he never taught.

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