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The University of the District of Columbia’s Board of Trustees announced that it was firing four-year university President Allen Sessoms late Wednesday night, according to a press release from the board.
Board of Trustees Chairwoman Dr. Elaine Crider thanked Sessoms for leading UDC. “But as we grapple with the challenges of reducing staff and programs, continuing to improve our physical plant and attracting new students, the Board has decided to go in a different direction,” Crider says in the statement.
UDC expects to name a short-term replacement for Sessoms within two days, and has already started interviewing potential interim presidents, according to the release. Sessoms’ contract was originally set to run through August 2013, according to University spokesman Alan Etter.
Sessoms’ future at the school has been in doubt at least September, when the board reportedly met to consider whether to opt not to renew his contract. Before that, Sessoms was criticized for his exorbitant travel expenses, like taking a nearly $8,000 trip to Cairo on the university dime. Before that, his plan for big tuition increases drew student protests.
It’s probably small consolation for Sessoms, but at least he’s been in this situation before. In 2000, he resigned as president of New York’s Queens College amid accusations that he’d misled officials about his school’s finances. He’s also following in the path of his predecessor at UDC, William Pollard, who was also ousted by the trustees.
In May, Washington City Paper‘s Lydia DePillis wondered how much Sessoms, with his goals of reform and attendant controversies, was like former DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Now they have one more thing in common: getting pushed out.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery.