A historically black university in North Carolina routinely changed students grades, awarding them higher marks in order to improve the school’s reputation, according to a college news publication.
This accusation against Winston-Salem State University was made by a former administrator and two anonymous professors.
Only the grades of black students were raised, said Shira Hedgepeth, former director of academic technology, in an interview with the conservative Campus Reform.
“None of the Caucasian or non-African American students… none of their grades were changed,” she said. “The way the grades fell out, there was no other reason for changing.”
Hedgepeth was fired in 2011. She sued the university, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that she was a victim of racial discrimination. Hedgepeth is white.
Two professors — who spoke to Campus Reform on condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation — corroborated Hedgepeth’s story and confirmed that the practice was ongoing.
“All the faculty, white and black, are very fearful to speak,” said one. “The department is run by fear and through retaliation. If you speak out you will be retaliated against.”
They also provided documents that demonstrated the extent of the scandal. Campus Reform decided not to publish these documents because doing so might violate federal privacy laws.
A spokesman for the university said the university was unaware of any grade changes.
“I checked throughout our administration and the university has not heard of any of those allegations,” said Aaron Singleton, a spokesman for Winston-Salem State University, in a statement. “No one has filed any complaints at the university.”
But one of the professors disputed this.
“I have reported everything,” the professor said. “I doubt anything was done.”
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