Leadership Struggle Engulfs University of the District of Columbia

Allen L. Sessoms did not take long to make his presence known at the University of the District of Columbia. Less than a month after taking office as the university’s president, Sessoms announced that he was disbanding the faculty senate. The group had been established in 1995 to enact bylaws and advise the provost and president. Sessoms claimed that the group did not perform the duties with which it was entrusted and did not keep records of what went on at senate meetings.

Some members of the faculty stated that the action was taken in retaliation for criticisms of the manner in which the presidential search had been conducted. Sydney O. Hall, professor of public health and leader of the faculty senate, was the only member of the trustees’ presidential selection committee to vote against hiring Sessoms.

Prior to taking his new position, Dr. Sessoms was president of Delaware State University, a historically black educational institution in Dover. Previously, he was president of Queens College, part of the City University of New York system.