The chairman of the University of the District of Columbia's Criminal Justice Department was relieved of his administrative responsibilities yesterday, effectively killing his proposal to offer a teaching position to former mayor Marion Barry.
Kelsey A. Jones, who had been department chairman for about 12 years, was removed by a college dean at the request of criminal justice faculty members who questioned how Jones operated the department.
Jones's removal was effective at the close of business yesterday, and UDC officials said Jones had not yet forwarded to them Barry's application materials.
According to regulations governing faculty members at UDC, a department chairman can be removed if two-thirds of the full-time faculty vote to remove him. The college dean can accept or reject the faculty petition.
Also yesterday, Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon said she believes Barry's legal problems should be resolved before he gets a job teaching at UDC.
In a meeting with Washington Post reporters and editors, Dixon also said that Barry ought to teach a subject other than criminal justice.
"After he has discharged his legal requirements to society, I think then it would be appropriate to talk about what contribution he can make to the community," Dixon said.
The mayor has no formal role in the appointment of faculty members.
Barry, 54, was sentenced to six months in prison last November after he was convicted of possessing cocaine, a misdemeanor.
A job at UDC for the former mayor has been viewed by Barry supporters as a solution to Barry's pension problems. Without at least two more years of government service, Barry will receive a partial city pension.
Barry supporters tried to get him appointed to permanent teaching positions in political science and urban studies. But those efforts failed because of opposition from some faculty members in those departments.
Jones planned to offer Barry a temporary, full-time teaching job. Such an appointment would have to be approved by a dean, the vice president for academic affairs and the president, but it would not require the consent of faculty members in the department.
After Jones announced his proposal concerning Barry, three of the four faculty members in criminal justice signed a letter asking Barry to reject the job offer. They characterized the plan as a political payoff.
Faculty in the department said their petition to remove Jones had nothing to do with his plans to offer Barry a job teaching seniors about issues related to public policy in the administration of justice.
Their petition to Jose Gil, the dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, said that to keep Jones as chairman "would serve to seriously undermine the operation of the department and our service to students."
Faculty members said that Jones has failed to certify students for graduation in a timely manner and has not issued grades for students in more than 10 classes from last semester.
Jones disagreed, calling the action a retaliation because he had proposed hiring Barry in spite of opposition from faculty members in his department and the dean of his college.
"No matter what they may claim, the timing of this action has to be more than coincidence," Jones said.
Barry's chances of getting a teaching appointment in another department appeared even slimmer yesterday.
Dixon said that some members of Congress have implied that efforts to get an increased federal payment for the District would be hurt if Barry gets a job at UDC.
A Faculty Senate committee and student leaders have questioned whether Barry's appointment would adversely affect UDC's accreditation, which is under review.
On another matter yesterday, Dixon also said that she would be in favor of replacing all members of UDC's board of trustees when their terms expire.