University charged with falsely raising grades of black students

WSSUThree former Winston-Salem State University faculty members are alleging that administrators at the historically black college are systematically raising the final grades of African-American students.

Shira Hedgepeth, former director of Academic Technology, along with two former professors, say that administrators routinely increase the final grades of African-American students in order to raise the school’s standing, Campus Reform reported.

Hedgepeth to Campus Reform: “Some students had their final grades changed based on their race. That was a common complaint of many of the faculty that I worked with.”

“None of the Caucasian or non-African American students… none of their grades were changed,” she added. “The way the grades fell out, there was no other reason for changing.”

Campus Reform was provided documents that appear to validate these claims, however, chose not to publish the records due to possible legal concerns.

According to Hedgepeth, and the two former professors, instructors would submit final grades to the school only to have them later revised upwards by administrators as a way to “take care of their African American students.”

“There is no other motivation,” said Hedgepeth. “If you work on that campus you know it. Everything that was done was to make sure we service the African American students.”

Upon being contacted by Campus Reform, WSSU spokesman Aaron Singleton said the university had received no complaints.

“I checked throughout our administration and the university has not heard of any of those allegations,” said Singleton. “No one has filed any complaints at the university.”

Considering the seriousness of the charges, a somewhat odd response in that there was no categorical denial, just a comment that no complaints have been received.

And a response that is disputed by one of the former professors, who said several faculty members have filed numerous complaints that were ignored.

The professors wished to remain anonymous because they feared speaking out may jeopardize their retirement and out of fear the school would retaliate against them.

“All the faculty, white and black are very fearful to speak,” one said. “The department is run by fear and through retaliation. If you speak out you will be retaliated against.”

Campus Reform notes that Hedgepeth was terminated by WSSU in 2011. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has since ruled she was a victim of racial discrimination and she has filed two pending lawsuits against the school.

Read full report at Campus Reform

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Tom Tillison

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