I thought the readings this week were all very interesting and thought provoking. Specifically the UNC scandal involving “paper classes”. Reading the report on how UNC student athletes were put into classes that were academically not sound to boost their GPAs, is such an obvious and egregious example of the types of challenges universities face everyday. Even though Deborah Crowder was the main culprit in this crime, it is pretty clear from the report that she was working within a culture at UNC that was, if not permissive at a minimum ambivalent, to what was going on. From advisors suggesting these classes to students, to her supervisor, to the students themselves there appears to have been a culture where ethics and professionalism took a back seat to other goals.
It seems unthinkable that a situation like that could occur at Virginia Tech, but when you think of all of the different goals that the school tries to balance, it is not impossible that something like this could happen unless an ethical and professional culture is actively maintained to fight it.
I think that there will always be bad actors in an organization as large as a university; people who willfully choose to act in inappropriate ways. Having these actors, like Deborah Crowder, is impossible to avoid. Having a culture which allows them to continue operating however, is not at all inevitable. It takes proper training and oversight but with the right program we can ensure that incidents like this are caught and corrected.