Just over two months ago, in connection with the issuance of the report by Kenneth Wainstein of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP on past academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University pledged its full commitment to restoring trust, continuing to implement a broad range of reforms, and holding individuals accountable based on facts and evidence and consistent with fair process and appropriate respect for their privacy. The University continues to work hard on each of these fronts.
In February 2014, the University commissioned an independent investigation led by Mr. Wainstein. At the October 22 news conference announcing the release of his report, the University announced it had terminated or commenced disciplinary reviews against nine UNC-Chapel Hill employees. In providing information about these decisions and ongoing processes, the University has respected and complied fully with the North Carolina Public Records Act and the State’s Human Resources Act. We are committed in these very challenging circumstances to providing the personnel information required by law and to respecting the privacy of due process rights of our employees.
Adhering to our obligations under North Carolina law, today we are disclosing that Dr. Tim McMillan has resigned effective December 31. We previously released personnel information relating to Jaimie Lee, an at will employee who was terminated after her appeal rights expired. Six other employees are undergoing reviews. These reviews are being taken very seriously and may result in employees being held accountable.
Of the employees referred to by the Chancellor during the October 22 news conference, six were designated to undergo a review for consideration of any disciplinary action. At the Chancellor’s direction, the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost and Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement commenced a review process for each of the six employees. The review is being conducted and led by those two individuals and has entailed a review of pertinent records, discussions with each employee, and consideration of other information. The process began immediately after the October 22 news conference and is moving forward and progressing. While the University cannot pinpoint precisely when each decision will be made, the Chancellor has directed the Provost and the Vice Chancellor to complete the review process as expeditiously as possible.
The University will disclose each decision as it is made, including a decision not to discipline. If disciplinary action is decided upon, the name of the employee and the nature of the disciplinary action will be made public immediately pursuant to G.S. 126-23(a)(9) or (11). If any of the six employees chooses to challenge disciplinary action, the University will make public of the fact of such a challenge and will provide a good faith estimate of the time required to complete the challenge process.
This process has been and will continue to be taken very seriously and is being managed at the highest levels. Facts and fair process guide our reviews and decision-making. Once decisions have been made for these employees, we will release any personnel information required by North Carolina law, while also informing the Carolina community when the reviews of all six employees have been completed.
In light of the extraordinary circumstances underlying the longstanding and intolerable academic irregularities described in the Wainstein Report, as well as her role as chair of the faculty during a period of time covered by the report, the Chancellor has determined that in order to preserve the University’s integrity, it is necessary to disclose that, on October 22, 2014, the University informed faculty member Jeanette Boxill, Ph.D., of an intent to terminate her employment based on evidence accompanying the report. Dr. Boxill responded by requesting a hearing before a committee of the faculty—a decision we fully respect. While that process is pending, and after extensive reflection and deliberation, the Chancellor determined that disclosing this information relating to Dr. Boxill is necessary to maintaining the level and quality of services Carolina provides as well as our integrity as we continue to move forward.
With this and all actions we take, it is our intention to be transparent, responsible, and committed to excellence and integrity in everything we do.