UDC terminates university president’s contract

UDC Student President Michael Watson calls for the resignation of University President Allen Sessoms in 2011. Sessoms\' contract was terminated Wednesday, Dec. 19. (WTOP Photo/Mark Segraves)

WASHINGTON – A search is now underway after the University of the District of Columbia decided to terminate the university’s president Wednesday night.

The Board of Trustees announced the decision to end the contract of Allen L. Sessoms late Wednesday night in a press release and state a temporary replacement would be named within two days.

Sessoms took the position as university president on Sept. 1, 2008 after previously serving as presidents at Delaware State University and Queens College of New York City.

“We thank Dr. Sessoms for his work in guiding the University over the past four years,” said Dr. Elaine Crider, who chairs the Board of Trustees, in a pre ss release.

“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.”

In the release, the Board said it’s already begun interviewing candidates for interim president. That person will likely be appointed in January 2013. Whoever is appointed will serve for 6 to 18 months until a permanent president is selected.

While the University of the District of Columbia made no mention of why Sessoms was fired, UDC students previously called for his resignation in March of 2011.

Students said Sessoms was inappropriately using money for trips around the U.S. and first-class tickets to overseas locations.

“We are looking at possible new avenues to follow a civil lawsuit on behalf of the university and its students,” said Michael Watson in 2011, student senate president at the time.

Watson and other students were reacting to expense records that show Sessoms rides first class to places like Cairo and Boston on the school’s dime.

Sessoms said he had circulatory problems in his legs and a doctors orders said he needed to ride first class.

“I’m going to fly first class,” Sessoms said at the time. “I’m not going to die for any job.”

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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