Mary Willingham worked with student athletes at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill's Center for Student Success and Academic Counseling from 2003-2010.
While still working at the University as an advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences (2012- 2014), she blew the whistle on the UNC academic scandal that has since been documented as the longest running athletic and academic fraud case in the history of college sport. Willingham knew that the fraud could be confirmed with data found in the transcripts, student work and her research on the athletes low reading levels.
The collection contains correspondence (primarily email), student grade reports and academic work from Willingham’s time at UNC. The collection also contains documents related to Willingham’s appointment at UNC and the retaliation she experienced in both her professional and educational pursuits at the university. Willingham’s documents contain much information that is sensitive in nature, dealing with students’ grades, classes, and their time in the university. In compliance with FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) some of the documents have been redacted by covering personally identifiable information and making a photocopy of the document. These redacted photocopies are available in the publicly accessible collection. Many of the documents were used to write her book Cheated, co-authored with Professor Jay Smith and released in 2015.