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UDC cuts will save an essential educational institution

It has been our charge to engage a right-sizing plan that allows the University of the District of Columbia to continue to serve Washingtonians for generations to come [“UDC is planning cuts to solve budget problems,” Metro, Oct. 4]. Although this process was mandated by city leaders, we have embraced it as a way for us to rethink the purpose of Washington’s only public university. Make no mistake: We are serious about this effort.

The District has some of the finest universities in the nation, and those able to attend them can look forward to a top-rate education. But for those who are not so fortunate, access to a first-class public university is critical to success in our 21st-century economy.

This right-sizing effort is not just about eliminating positions. It has given us a chance to create synergies between our programs and people, to consolidate where necessary, and to put forth a plan that will help us realize significant savings while strengthening our four-year university and our community college. Both are vital to the economic future of the city. In fact, UDC enrolls more D.C. residents than all the city’s private colleges combined. Nearly 1,200 degrees have been awarded to D.C. residents over the past three years alone.

We look forward to implementing a plan, with the support of the mayor and other city leaders, that will propel this university to the next level. But we are also serious about preserving an essential educational vehicle for residents of the District.

D.C. residents, like all Americans, deserve a quality, affordable public university.

Elaine A. Crider and Allen L. Sessoms, Washington

The writers are, respectively, chair of the University of the District of Columbia Board of Trustees and president of the university.

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