Secrets & Silence


In a recent Daily Tar Heel (DTH) article about the fallout from the Wainstein report, UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham was quoted as saying: “At some point we’ve got to move forward. And I think we’re to that point.”

As part of our continuing series, “Why we can’t move forward,” we present another reason UNC-Chapel Hill is only treading water when it calls on everyone to help the flagship “move forward.”

#5 Whistleblowers are still at risk.

No one will ever blow the whistle on anything at UNC, because no protection is offered to the people who cry foul. If we have learned anything through four painful years of cover-up and denial, it’s that a conspiracy of silence held secrets in check for many, many years—at the academic support program for student athletes and elsewhere. No one felt empowered or enabled to step forward to reveal ugly truths. One would think that addressing this institutional defect would have been priority #1 for a succession of leaders at UNC-Chapel Hill beginning in 2010. There should be a whistleblowing czar with a choice office in South Building by now. But on the contrary, the culture on the UNC campus continues to send this powerful message: do not speak ill of UNC, do not complain in ways that will draw attention, do not ruffle the feathers of those in power, do not make waves. Rashad McCants, Tydreke Powell, and Deunta Williams were harassed, vilified and ridiculed for daring to speak out about the defective educational stewardship UNC provided them—and not a single leader stuck up for them; MW @paperclassinc was first ignored [listen to the audio from MW’s 2010 interview with Lissa Broome and Steve Keadey],


[listen to audio from MW’s 2012 interview with Gov. Martin/Baker Tilly],


then shunned, and finally denounced by the leaders themselves.

No apologies for any of the University’s reprehensible behavior have been forthcoming, and with the exception of a new Faculty Athletics Committee policy that remains untested (see p. 31 of the SACS response), the will to change the culture of secrecy and silence at UNC is scarcely in evidence among the leadership.






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