Ex-UNC professor to plead not guilty to charge

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HILLSBOROUGH — A defense attorney says a former professor at the center of an academic scandal involving athletes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will plead not guilty to a felony fraud charge.

Julius Nyang’Oro was chairman of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies and is accused of receiving $12,000 for a lecture course while holding no classes.

After a first appearance hearing Tuesday, attorney Bill Thomas said Nyang’Oro would plead not guilty. He says it was an “unfortunate decision” to charge Nyang’Oro.

A trial date of Dec. 17 was set for Nyang’Oro, who had turned himself in to authorities earlier Tuesday and released on $30,000 bond.

He could face up to 10 months in prison if convicted. The university said it recouped the $12,000.