Whistleblower in UNC academic fraud case files lawsuit against school
Mary Willingham, a former academic advisor at North Carolina and the whistleblower in the academic fraud investigation at the university, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, according to numerous reports on Tuesday morning.
(Those with a legal mind can go ahead and read through the entire lawsuit here.)
Willingham was employed by the university from 2003-2014, spending much of her time working as a learning specialist. She made it a mission to get the school and the athletic department to take accountability for their failings in regards to the academic scandal that has plagued the school for the past three years. Using her own research, Willingham claimed in a CNN special report that 8-10% of the athletes on scholarship at the school between 2005 and 2012 were reading below a third grade level and that roughly 60% were reading between a fourth and eighth grade level.
Willingham claims in the lawsuit that a recent demotion was retaliation by the school, saying that she was “essentially punished for having reported the truth”, which is illegal in North Carolina. Willingham also says that she was “constructively terminated” because of the demotion and a hostile work environment that was created by the school.
Damages total $10,000 and Willingham is also asking for her job back with protection against termination as a result of these legal proceedings and the reopened NCAA investigation into the academic fraud at the school.
On Monday, the NCAA and North Carolina announced that due to subjects that are more willing to provide information to their investigators, they will once again be digging into the academic fraud allegations involving the men’s basketball and football teams.