The University of the District of Columbia has agreed to pay $4,800 in back salary and to halt dismissal proceedings against David L. Lewis, a nationally known history professor who was charged with canceling classes last spring without permission.
In return, Lewis agreed to drop lawsuits he filed against the university and its vice president for academic affairs, William Moore, who had held up the paychecks and signed the dismissal notice.
Lewis said yesterday he plans to teach at UDC during the fall semester which begins Aug. 27, but that he is also seeking a job at another university.
"It's very likely that I'll be leaving [UDC] after next year," Lewis said. "Even though things are resolved, it's obvious that I'm not adverse to relocating. I already had intended to bring my association [with UDC] to an end, and all this hasn't changed my attitude. In fact, it's been strengthened."
Attorneys for Lewis and the university reached the agreement in late July, shortly before public hearings on Lewis's ouster were scheduled to begin before a special faculty committee.
The written agreement included a promise, suggested by the university, that neither side publicly discuss the details of the case. In response to a reporter's questions, both Lewis and Moore confirmed the document's main points yesterday, but refuesed to release a copy of it.
Lewis, 43, holds a bachelor's degree from Fisk University, a master's from Columbia, and a doctorate from the London School of Economics. He has written a widely-priased biography of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and books on the history of the District of Columbia and the Dreyfus Affair in turn-of-the-century France.
In UDC's most recent annual report, Lewis is the first professor mentioned in the section on faculty achievement.
In a letter last May, Moore charged that Lewis had "deprived university students of their contracted right to class instruction . . . [and] jeopardized the University's reputation," by stopping classes a month early.
Lewis acknowledged canceling the classes. He said attendance had been so small, ranging from just two to 12 students, that he had been able to cover course material quickly and felt it would be "more productive" to assign term paper and reading assignments.
Lewis complained that the charges against him actually stemmed from a long-standing feud within the history department.