An awful 146-word term paper littered with grammatical errors that is barely even readable has become a potent visual symbol of the University of North Carolina’s fake classes scandal.
The one-paragraph essay on civil rights icon Rosa Parks earned an A- and was exposed by former UNC professor Mary Willingham, who spent 10 years teaching UNC’s athletes before she turned whistleblower on alleged classroom corruption.
The shocking essay came to light during an ESPN documentary timed to coincide with the March Madness basketball competition. It contains allegations that UNC athletes in danger of failing were encouraged to sign up for fake tutor groups designed to let students pass.
The so-called ‘paper classes’ were essentially no-show study groups that allowed semi-literate and in some cases, illiterate athletes to pass, thereby boosting their Grade Point Average to meet the NCAA’s eligibility requirements.
The anonymous essay, titled, ‘Rosa Parks: My Story’ attempts to recount the important moment on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, when Parks refused to give her seat up for a white man.
However, it fails to even place the event in the past or give any gravitas to the momentous moment in American history.
‘Some of these college students could read at a second or third grade level,’ Willingham, a UNC academic adviser since 2003 told ESPN.
‘Students were taking classes that really didn’t exist. They were called independent studies at that time and they just had to write a paper… There was no attendance.’
ROSA PARKS: MY STORY: THE FULL 146-WORD TEXT OF THE TERM PAPER
On the evening of December Rosa Parks decided that she was going to sit in the white people section on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
During this time blacks had to give up there seats to whites when more whites got on the bus. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat.
Her and the bus driver began to talk and the conversation went like this. ‘Let me have those front seats’ said the driver.
She didn’t get up and told the driver that she was tired of giving her seat to white people.
‘I’m going to have you arrested,’ said the driver. ‘You may do that,’ Rosa Parks responded.
Two white policemen came in and Rosa Parks asked them ‘why do you all push us around?’
The police officer replied and said ‘I don’t know, but the law is the law and you’re under arrest.