Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Studies" without Study

It's now clear that the University of North Carolina should be forced to forfeit its national basketball championships from 2005 and 2007, and probably even 1993. This is due to the latest revelations that the UNC Department of African and Afro-American Studies, since its inception, has been nothing more than a fraudulent shelter to keep athletes eligible.

And why is anyone surprised? Remember, the African and Afro-American Studies department was created in response to protests by UNC football players in 1992. (See Charlotte Observer, “Fight for Black Cultural Center Spills into UNC Stadiums,” 17 Sep 1992.) It's been all about athletics from the beginning, and any academic administrator worth his salt would have known that. While African and Afro-American Studies may be a worthwhile specialization for a few undergraduates majoring in Social Studies, it's hardly the sort of broad curriculum that can support an undergraduate major all by itself. Julius Peppers' transcript - loaded with courses like Black Nationalism, Black Experience (twice!), Blacks in Film, etc. - attests to that.

But the real tragedy here is not the fraudulent national championships won by the Tar Heels with their "student-athletes." It's the fact that the African and Afro-American Studies Department has been fully subsidized by North Carolina taxpayers - not just UNC athletics boosters. Meanwhile, real students in real academic disciplines at our state universities continue to suffer ever higher tuition payments to these "public" universities, who fritter away those tuition dollars on such complete wastes of time as African and Afro-American Studies and UNC basketball.

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