The University of the District of Columbia has suspended 797 students for poor academic performance and placed an additional 2,668 on probation in the third round of enforcing its policy on academic standards, university officials said yesterday.
The figures, based on grades for the spring semester, were released by interim president Claude Ford just a month after the resignation under pressure of former president Benjamin H. Alexander.
Alexander had emphasized the suspension policy as a way to raise the value of degrees from the open-admissions university, which has an enrollment of about 14,000 students.
Ford noted that the policy had been adopted by the university trustees in 1978 and carried out for the first time shortly before Alexander took office last Aug. 1. He said it would continue to be enforced.
Robert L. Green, who was appointed UDC president Tuesday for a five-year term starting Sept. 1, said he has not yet had a chance to study the policy. But he said that John Hanna, former president of Michigan State University where Green has been a dean, used to remark that "one suspension is too many." Green added: "We can always work toward that ideal.
"It's easy to tout standards," he continued. "I'm in favor of high standards. It's easy to say that. The next question is how do you create support systems to allow all students to achieve at the highest standard for themselves."
Under the current policy, students are suspended for one semester if they fail to maintain a cumulative average of 2.0, the equivalent of a C, after completing three semesters or 30 credit hours at the school.
Students are placed on academic probation and required to take a reduced course load if they have less than a 2.0 average but have attended less than three semesters. According to university enrollment reports, those on probation amount to about a third of UDC's freshman class.
When the academic standing policy was first enforced in 1982 after the spring semester, 1,397 students were suspended and 2,854 placed on probation. After last fall, 867 were suspended and 2,632 put on probation.