University of the District of Columbia President Benjamin H. Alexander, who announced Monday that the school had suspended 1,200 students for poor academic performance, said yesterday that no students had been formally suspended yet and that the university did not know exactly how many will be.
"I'm in a quandary as to what the correct figures are; the mud is on my face," Alexander said. He said that the university registrar's office is still reviewing each student's grades to determine how many will be suspended or put on probation.
Alexander said that the university had prematurely sent out a press release announcing that 1,200 students had been suspended and that 1,700 others had been placed on academic probation. He said that at the moment, these numbers represent merely candidates for suspension or probation.
On Monday, Alexander said that letters of suspension had already been sent to 1,200 students. But yesterday he said, "I learned this had not been done."
Alexander said that he does not know whether the original figures he had sent out will change. He said he hopes to have the final numbers this afternoon.
Alexander's critics among the UDC faculty accused him yesterday of mailing out the press release prematurely to bolster his image in the community as a no-nonense educator bent on stiffening academic standards at Washington's only public university.
Kelsey Jones, a vice president of the Faculty Senate, said Alexander wanted his announcement to be "a media event, knowing that the community is extraordinarily sensitive to the question of academic standards."
"He's doing this because he wants to look good," said Joseph Brent, a history professor.
But Alexander said that "this type of thing suspending students doesn't make me look good."
"There are people out there who are saying that this fellow isn't interested in students or youth," Alexander said. "He's interested in getting rid of students."
The university's board of trustees adopted a suspension and probation policy in 1979, but it was not enforced until the 1982 fall semester.
The policy calls for suspension of students who fail to achieve a 2.0 average after completing three semesters or 30 credit hours at the school.
Students are placed on academic probation if they have been at the university for less than three semesters and their cumulative average is less than 2.0, the equivalent of a C.