The president of the University of the District of Columbia, Julius F. Nimmons Jr., has said that he violated school rules last summer when he selected Beverly J. Anderson to become UDC's second-ranking official and that he has rescinded her appointment as provost.
Anderson, who was traveling yesterday and unavailable for comment, is now acting provost and chief academic officer. Nimmons said the school's operation would not be affected by the change. Anderson will be considered as a candidate for the permanent job when a national search is launched this fall, he said.
Nimmons sent a letter to the UDC community Wednesday saying that he had violated a university rule that requires a formal search and selection process for the job of provost at the District's only public institution of higher education.
Nimmons, a former UDC provost, said he did not know he needed to conduct a search last summer when he appointed Anderson, who had been an academic dean. He learned of the error, he said, when UDC's general counsel informed him in late spring of the problem, which had been the subject of rumors for months.
"I just made a mistake," Nimmons said. "This has nothing to do with her or the way she was doing her job. It's no reflection on her."
The somewhat embarrassing admission came at a time when Nimmons and other officials at UDC are trying to strengthen the university, which has been battered by heavy budget cuts and enrollment problems during the past decade.
"It is imperative that we restore public confidence in the university," Nimmons said.
He added that he has asked Anderson, as acting provost, to help improve public confidence by improving UDC's ties with the business community, the city government and D.C. public schools, along with other initiatives.
Some faculty members were privately pleased that Anderson had lost her permanent position--at least temporarily--because she has frequently opposed recommendations made by the University Senate, an advisory body that represents the faculty and other constituencies.
"She has definitely ruffled feathers," said Professor Chester Wright, president of the University Senate. "She pushes for what she wants, and sometimes it's 'my way or no way.' In an academic situation, that bothers people."
In one instance, Wright said, Anderson overrode a University Senate recommendation to postpone a plan to eliminate the philosophy and geography departments because of low enrollment.
Anderson recommended to the UDC trustees last year that the departments be cut, and they were, along with a two-year program in mechanical engineering.