Final grades of African-American students attending Winston-Salem State University were increased by school officials, according to former instructors at the institution.
The instructors reported that final grades would be submitted to the school administrators only to later discover the grades of their African-American students altered.
“Some students had their final grades changed based on race,” said Hedgepeth. “That was a common complaint of many of the faculty that I worked with.”
Three ex-faculty members spoke out about the alleged changes during a meeting with watchdog website Campus Reform in June. Shira Hedgepeth, former Director of Academic Technology, claimed that African-American students’ grades were often raised to improve the school’s academic standing.
“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.”
The allegations have been investigated and appear to be supported by official documents obtained by Campus Reform. The information in the documents will not be released because the website believes doing so could violate the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
One of the other professors, who chose to keep their identity private, said that a number of faculty members have constantly submitted complaints but they were never acknowledged.
“I have reported everything,” said the professor. “I doubt anything was done.”
Hedgepeth said that she tried reaching out to the school’s accrediting body, but the complaints were not accepted.
One professor, who was not identified by Campus Reform, said that the reason many current faculty members are afraid to come forward is because they fear losing their jobs.
“All the faculty, white and black are very fearful to speak,” said one of the professors. “The department is run by fear and through retaliation. If you speak out you will be retaliated against.”
Aaron Singleton, a spokesperson for the university, claims that the university has never received any complaints from faculty regarding the grade changes.
“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.”
In 2011 the university fired Hedgepeth which has since been ruled as an act of racial discrimination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She has two lawsuits against the school pending.