IN ANY UNIVERSITY SYSTEM, deans must be chosen and department chairmen appointed. At the University of the District of Columbia, those selections must also take into account the fact that three schools - Federal City College, Washington Technical Institute and D.C. Teachers College - are being merged into one. That means there may be three English departments, for example, with mutually different standards - and three English department chairman who feel they have a legitimate claim to become the chairman. And when you've said that, you've pretty much described the administrative problem facing the people who run UDC.
Hard choices are required to shape UDC into one institution. The Board of Trustees, university President Lisle C. Carter and a majority of the faculty seem committed to working together on the task. But there is a small number of faculty members who appear to resent these facts of UDC life, convinced that the board and president will merge them right out of jobs and salaries. And they are trying to persuade their co-workers that recent city council legislation, aimed at easing this personnel merge, puts the entire UDC teaching community in Jeopardy. The result has been a small faculty strike, removal of a faculty member from his administrative post, several meetings between the teachers and the university president, agreement from the president not to make use of the council's legislation, and threatened law-suits. There has also been criticism of faculty members' conduct from UDC student leaders - and a request that they return to their classrooms.
We go along with the students. Faculty members should return to their classes. The president and the board have a responsibility to make UDC one institution - not just on paper, but as a matter of fact. It appears that they are taking that charge seriously. The UDC faculty also has a responsibility to work toward merger - without polemics and disruption. The point of this consolidation is to create a new university that is administratively sound and academically strong. If a few faculty members actually slow down the merger, one thing is certain: All the progress made in the last year will be lost.