CNN: Whistleblower in University of North Carolina Paper Class Case Files Lawsuit

Mary Willingham, the whistleblowing former reading specialist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), filed a lawsuit against the school on Monday alleging that she was subject to a hostile work environment after voicing academic misconduct. Because of her disclosures, it was first revealed in 2011 that UNC-CH student athletes were able to stay academically eligible by taking “paper classes,” which never met and often required a single paper (possibly plagiarized). GAP sent two letters to UNC officials earlier this year questioning the school’s apparent retaliation and harassment against Willingham (possibly in violation of state law) in the wake of her revelations about student-athlete illiteracy rates (here and here).

Key Quote: “After speaking to the local newspaper, the News and Observer in 2013, she was demoted and given extra work, her lawsuit says. Then, she says, university officials verbally attacked her in 2014 when CNN featured her in a story about the literacy rates of college athletes nationwide. 

She has said she felt university officials unfairly attacked her character after she revealed research on a selection of athletes who were reading at elementary school levels. 

A whistle-blower group came to her defense earlier this year, saying the university should launch an investigation into the public harassment of Willingham by UNC officials.

Related Article: News & Observer 

FireDogLake: NSA Whistleblowers to Testify Before German Parliamentary Committee in July

NSA whistleblowers and GAP clients Thomas Drake and Bill Binney, and GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack, will testify tomorrow before a German Parliamentary Committee about the details of NSA surveillance (based on documented evidence from GAP client Edward Snowden). The committee will ask questions about surveillance by the “Five Eyes” members – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, U.K. and U.S. – and their collection of data and interception of communications in Germany.

FIC Investigation Into Big Biotech’s Kauai Influence Underway

Amanda Hitt, Director of GAP’s Food Integrity Campaign (FIC), provides an update on an investigation into Kauai whistleblower allegations regarding major biotech companies’ influence on the island. The excessive use of highly toxic pesticides on genetically engineered crops in Kauai has made parts of the island “one of the most toxic chemical environments in all of American agriculture.”

Tri-City Herald (WA): State Appeals Court Rules Against Hanford Whistleblower

The Washington State Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling dismissing the case brought by Hanford whistleblower Walter Tamosaitis against major federal contractor Bechtel National. Tamosaitis was retaliated against after he identified a number of problems with the Hanford waste treatment plant, and was laid off late last year. According to the court’s decision, Tamosaitis did not properly show how he lost wages or other money as a result of being removed from work at Hanford. Tamosaitis said he plans to appeal the decision to the Washington State Supreme Court.

MailOnline (U.K.): Parent Whose Daughter Was Killed in ‘Defective’ Car Say GM Whistleblower Was Ignored by the Company as They Push Ahead With Effort to Sure the Automaker for a Second Time

Parents of a victim of a fatal General Motors (GM) auto accident believe a whistleblower’s safety warning were ignored and withheld by GM management in 2002. A settlement between the family and GM was finalized last October, but the case could alter GM’s strategy to compensate other victims and their families.

Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.