UDC Senate Begins Probe; Provost Hiring Again Targeted

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 15, 2004 | Go to article overview
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UDC Senate Begins Probe; Provost Hiring Again Targeted


The University of the District of Columbia Senate begins an investigation today into the selection of the school's new provost, a family friend of the university president who hired her even though she lacked the requisite doctoral degree.

A similar investigation by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics cleared UDC President William L. Pollard last month of breaking ethics laws in hiring his friend for the $137,000-a-year job. But faculty leaders called the investigation a "whitewash" and remain opposed to the provost's continued tenure.

The UDC Senate, a governing body made up of 34 elected faculty members, previously called on the school's trustees to oust Mr. Pollard, citing lost confidence in his leadership. A chief grievance was lasting resentment over his hiring of Wilhelmina M. Reuben-Cooke as provost and vice president of academic affairs.

"In fairness to the faculty members at the University who have aspired to high academic achievement, we cannot permit someone to serve as the provost/vice president of academic affairs who does not have an earned doctorate degree," said Sidney O. Hall, president of the faculty senate, in a letter advising the administration of the in-house investigation.

"We have waited patiently for the Board [of trustees] and management to correct and right this embarrassing situation," the letter said. "We cannot, nor should we, wait on external forces to compel university fiduciaries to act with integrity, and to do what is proper and in the best interest of students, faculty, staff, and residents of the District of Columbia."

The investigation, which will be conducted by the senate's 12-member steering committee, has requested members of the search panel that signed off on Mr. Pollard's decision to hire Mrs. Reuben-Cooke to testify at hearings, which begin on campus today.

However, the school administration has told the search committee members and others requested to testify that the faculty senate lacks the authority to conduct the investigation and that appearing at the hearings is strictly voluntary.

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UDC Senate Begins Probe; Provost Hiring Again Targeted


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