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Campus Overload
Posted at 01:31 PM ET, 04/08/2011

UDC students wait to hear if campus will shut down


On Saturday morning, University of the District of Columbia students and faculty will log onto the school Web site to learn if they should show up for their weekend classes, continue studying for upcoming finals or let parents know that graduation in early May might be rescheduled.

If the U.S. government shuts down, so will UDC.

Most colleges across the country would continue to operate as usual, although administrators might face frustrating delays in dealing with the U.S. Department of Education, which plans to furlough 4,150 of its 4,465 employees if there’s a shutdown. But the District of Columbia is not a state and its budget — which includes the university’s budget — is appropriated by Congress.

UDC President Allen L. Sessoms said closing the university, even for a short time, would have ”serious negative consequences.” Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said in a chat on the Post’s Web site Friday afternoon that a shutdown “would obviously be an extreme and unjust disruption to our students at UDC.”

Last semester UDC had about 2,600 undergraduates on its flagship campus in Northwest Washington and 2,670 community college students. It also had about 540 graduate and law school students. The university employs about 1,700 faculty, staff and administrators.

Most students were notified of a possible shutdown via email Thursday afternoon. By Friday morning, many were anxiously talking about what that would mean. At this point, there are a lot of unanswered questions.

One student wants to know if her professors will get paid. Another wants to know if his federally funded internship lined up for this summer will be affected. And the men’s tennis team wants to know if it can still play in a conference match on Saturday.

Lindsay Mitchell,a third-year graphic design major, said he works full-time in addition to attending class, and a shutdown could throw-off his plans to graduate this fall.

“I’m getting really angry,” said Mitchell, 24. “I’m paying my tuition. I’m going to school. I’m graduating this fall.”

Some professors and students are making contingency plans in case the shutdown occurs. One instructor says he would keep in touch with his class online, while another plans to email her students a final so they can complete it, scan it and return it to her.

Fatima Miller, a junior history major and Navy vet­eran, is waiting to hear back from two employers about potential summer internships. She notified them that her semester might run longer than planned. She also has been paying off bills and saving money in case her veterans stipend and a tax refund are delayed.

“I have to sit and wait, basically” to see what happens, said Miller, 34. “It seems so unfair.”

If you are a UDC student or professor, I would like to interview you about this possible shutdown. Shoot me an email at johnsonj@washpost.com.

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By  |  01:31 PM ET, 04/08/2011

 
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