Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon is planning to ask for the resignations of the trustees of the University of the District of Columbia, a top aide to the mayor said yesterday.
And in a separate development, former mayor Marion Barry, whose bid to teach criminal justice at UDC had been criticized by faculty leaders, said he is withdrawing his application.
The board of trustees at UDC had taken no official position on the Barry appointment, but its leadership was the target of much criticism last year. An 11-day student protest last fall, during which hundreds of students occupied an administration building, was started largely because of student dissatisfaction with the way the board operated the university.
Dixon had said during her campaign for mayor that she would prefer to have new membership on the board.
She continued that theme earlier this week in an interview with reporters and editors at The Washington Post. "I think we need new blood at the University of the District of Columbia," the Mayor said. "I have always said that, even though there are some friends there. I hope they will still be friends."
The mayor set no timetable for requesting the resignations, but Paul Costello, a spokesman for Dixon, said yesterday that Dixon wants to work with a new board "sooner rather than later."
UDC trustees serve for five years and can be removed only for cause. Neither the mayor nor the council can force members to resign. Eight persons on the 15-member board were nominated by Barry or by members of the D.C. Council and were approved by the D.C. Council. Three appointive positions are vacant, three others are elected by alumni, and one is elected by undergraduate students.
The Rev. A. Knighton Stanley, vice chairman of the board of trustees, said that it would be "disastrous and tragic" for Dixon to call for trustees' resignations without having talked with them. "She has reputable citizens there . . . who serve because they are interested in education," Stanley said.
Lisa Shaw, president of the UDC Student Government Association and a leader of the student protesters last fall, welcomed Dixon's idea.
"I just hope she doesn't make the mistake of returning some of the resignations," Shaw said. "Take them all and keep them all."
Dixon's decision about the board of trustees was unrelated to attempts by supporters of Barry to get him a teaching job at the university. But Barry's announcement came a day after Dixon told Post reporters and editors that Barry should resolve his legal problem before he gets a job at UDC.
It also came after Barry's chance for teaching criminal justice was effectively killed when the chairman of the department was removed from his position. The chairman, Kelsey Jones, was planning to appoint Barry without the support of his faculty or the dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
Barry, in a statement released Thursday night, said he was "disappointed and pained" that the possibility of his teaching at UDC allowed factions there to further their agendas.
"I will not allow my possible appointment to create . . . another distraction and excuse to prevent the university from making progress toward academic excellence," Barry said.