Protesting students at the University of the District of Columbia early yesterday morning poured out of the campus building they have occupied for six days and, with chants of "school is closed," persuaded most students to boycott classes.

Yesterday was the first day the administration sought to resume classes since Thursday, and the effort was not successful. When the demonstrators visited classrooms to ask that class be suspended, most professors dismissed class.

About midmorning the protesters reentered the building they have occupied since Wednesday.

The students are seeking vast changes at UDC, including the resignations of trustees appointed by Mayor Marion Barry. The trustees, fearing that a mass resignation would set a bad precedent for city agencies and jeopardize the institution's accreditation, have refused to leave.

The student strike is the latest crisis to face the 13-year-old institution, the District's only public university. The school, with 12,000 students, has had five presidents and continual turnover among top administrators. Its budget has been cut, and it has faced serious faculty morale problems.

"We met our responsibility and opened the school," interim President Miles Mark Fisher IV said yesterday. "It's up to faculty to keep students in class. School will be open tomorrow."

Students who arrived at the campus on Connecticut Avenue NW were confronted, as they were last Wednesday, by protesters in classrooms, at the exit of the Van Ness Metro station and at the entrances to academic buildings.

Classrooms remained empty most of yesterday, despite a vow by the administration and trustees that school would reopen. Several dozen classes were affected, with hundreds of students in them.

"But I have to go to class," said a woman trying to enter the Liberal Arts building for an 8 a.m. class. "I am trying to get into grad school."

The protesters persisted. "Hey, baby, you've got to pave the way," one told her. "You've got to sacrifice something."

The woman turned and began shouting "school is closed" with the protesters.

Faculty and some staff stood in small knots on Dennard Plaza at the school through the afternoon. Most of them said they support the protesters.

The protesting students urged those filing out of the classrooms to join them in Building 38, location of the student center and other facilities, which the demonstrators took over shortly before noon on Wednesday. Most of those leaving classes didn't go there, but more than 700 students signed a petition in support of the protesters.

"If I were to attend class, that would defeat the purpose, and I fully support what they're doing," said Joan Coombs, 24, who has attended UDC for three years. "I work. That's the only reason why I'm not going inside with them."

The demonstrating students have named the takeover Operation Kiamsha, a Swahili word meaning "that which wakes you up."

Negotiations between student leaders and members of the UDC Board of Trustees continued yesterday and last night, with little progress. Protest leader Mark Thompson, 23, said that the sessions were at times "very tense" and that they would continue into the night.

Earlier, he said of the morning session, between students and eight trustees: "Neither side has bent any."

The board has agreed to most of the demonstrators' 43 demands.

But the two sides have reached an impasse over the key one. It is that the trustees appointed by Barry resign effective in March, and that the student representative to the board and Chairman Nira Hardon Long -- who has announced her resignation from the chairmanship, effective Oct. 16 -- resign immediately.

Long could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Thompson said late last night that the students were making progress on the resignation issue, but he would not go into detail.

He said talks last night also dealt with the board's accountability, particularly in the resignation this summer of UDC President Rafael C. Cortada and the board's acceptance of a controversial work of art called "The Dinner Party." The students oppose a city plan to sell $1.6 million in bonds to pay for renovation of the Mount Vernon Square library building to house the piece, which some critics contend is obscene.

Sources on the 15-member board said that some trustees, searching for a solution, have discussed asking students whether Long's resignation from the board would end the conflict. Before the occupation began last week, four trustees had spoken among themselves and with a reporter about trying to force Long to resign as chairman.

Some fellow trustees have said Long tries to interfere too much in the school's administration, does not keep board members fully informed and sometimes exceeds her authority.

At a rally yesterday, Thompson called for Long to come to the campus and talk to the students. Long has yet to sit in on any of the negotiating sessions, which began Friday.

"The question we have is: Where is Nira Long?" Thompson said through a bullhorn during a one-hour rally in a courtyard between the occupied building and the administration building. Long is a lawyer who formerly ran the D.C. Redevelopment Land Authority for Barry. The mayor, fearing her presence on campus could incite students, has asked her to stay away from the negotiating sessions.

In Long's absence, the Rev. A. Knighton Stanley, a trustee who is pastor of People's Congregational Church in the Brightwood section of Northwest, has emerged as a leader of the board.

Yesterday, he acknowledged that the trustees have made some mistakes and should face them.

"We take responsibility," said Stanley. "There is enough guilt to go around, and we take ours."

Stanley is a top adviser to Democratic mayoral candidate Sharon Pratt Dixon.

Since the student takeover, one trustee appointed by Barry, lawyer Arthur M. Reynolds, has resigned. It was revealed on Saturday that another Barry appointee, businesswoman Lourdes Miranda, had resigned in late August.

Student leaders said yesterday that a third Barry appointee, Herbert O. Reid Sr., had resigned because of a serious illness. The university could not confirm that Reid, who is battling cancer, had submitted his resignation.

Reid's resignation would reduce the number of Barry-appointed trustees -- those who are at the center of the controversy -- to eight. The protesters also are seeking the resignation of student representative Cynthia Smith, who originally was selected by students. Three other trustees were elected by alumni.

The demonstrators are angry at the Barry-appointed board majority because they believe it is insensitive to students' needs, does not communicate with students and has presided over a disintegration in services on campus.

The protesters have periodically expressed anger at Barry, especially at what they believe is his changing position on the controversy.

On Thursday, Barry said he would seek the resignation of Long and Smith. Even though the mayor appoints 11 of the 15 board members, they can be removed only for cause. Barry's tone toward the students changed on Friday, when he said he was pulling himself out of the position of mediator. Students interpreted that as abandonment by the mayor, who is seeking an at-large seat on the D.C. Council next month. In a letter to the students Saturday night, Barry tried to restate his support for the students.

The students publicly said that they accepted Barry's support. But inside the occupied building, when organizers asked how they should respond to Barry, dozens of the protesters tore up copies of his letter.

Thompson said during a noon rally yesterday that talks between student leaders and the board were more candid than at any earlier point, but that the issue of resignation remains the major obstacle.

The success of yesterday's boycott, which came in the face of promises by the administration that classes would be held, seemed to give new momentum to the sit-in. During the weekend, some trustees said they thought the sit-in would fizzle, and some activists agreed.

On Sunday, as it became apparent that the two sides were deadlocked, some students expressed concern that the public would lose interest in their protest. However, food, expressions of support and visiting public officials bolstered their spirits.

Then there was near jubilation yesterday morning, when several groups of the hundreds of students in the occupied building ventured out to other buildings and tried to dissuade students from attending classes. Although some classes were held, many classrooms contained only a teacher and a lone student.

Ten of 25 students attended an afternoon Fundamentals of Chemistry class. "We talked mostly about the boycott," one student said as she left the class.

Faculty Senate President E. Dave Chatman said the body was encouraging teachers to go to their classes, but not to stay if students did not turn up. The vast majority of faculty members interviewed, like most students, expressed support for the student movement.

Several classrooms were posted with notices by faculty members that classes had been canceled. In others, faculty members had posted assignments for students, some of whom are expressing concern that the boycott will start to interfere with midterm examinations scheduled to begin in two weeks.

Staff writer Stephen Buckley contributed to this report.

Highlights of demands by UDC protesters, and trustees' responses. On matters that would affect the university's budget, require D.C. Council action or conflict with current contracts, the trustees said the proposal has merit and that they would examine the issues further.


Expand student representation on the Board of Trustees, and on search committees for administration jobs. RESPONSE

Trustees agreed to this demand. DEMAND

Establish a student grievance committee. RESPONSE

Trustees agree the idea has merit and will look into it. DEMAND

Hire more admissions office staff to allow timely processing of applications and transcripts, and hire more admissions counselors. RESPONSE

Trustees agree it has merit and will look into it. DEMAND

Schedule classes to be convenient for working parents. RESPONSE

Trustees say it has merit and will look into it. DEMAND

Make sure textbooks are available at bookstore by the first day of class. RESPONSE

Trustees say it has merit and will look into it. DEMAND

Give students a role in evaluating faculty members. RESPONSE

Trustees say the idea has merit and will look into it. DEMAND

Hire more tutors, testing staff and advisers. RESPONSE

Trustees say the idea has merit and will look into it. DEMAND

Extend library hours. RESPONSE

Trustees say the idea has merit and should be examined. DEMAND

Acquire more computers and other equipment for science classes. RESPONSE

Trustees say the idea has merit and should be considered further. DEMAND

Establish undergraduate and graduate African American studies departments. RESPONSE

Trustees agreed to this demand. The board will recommend this proposal to the faculty, which would have final say. DEMAND

Develop a comprehensive plan to set up a student union on campus. RESPONSE

Trustees agreed to this demand. DEMAND

Establish a task force, mostly of students, to serve as liaison between athletes and the administration. RESPONSE

Trustees agreed to this demand. DEMAND

Develop a comprehensive plan to ensure stability in the athletic program. RESPONSE

Trustees agreed to this demand. DEMAND

Allow two students to serve on committee selecting new athletic director. RESPONSE

Trustees agreed to this demand. DEMAND

Withdraw university agreement to house "The Dinner Party" artwork. RESPONSE

Trustees said they are disposed toward rescinding the agreement. DEMAND

Develop plans to address student housing problems. RESPONSE

Trustees agreed to this demand. DEMAND

Develop plans for day care for students' children. RESPONSE

Trustees agreed this idea has merit and said it should be examined further. DEMAND

Rename all campus buildings for prominent African Americans, to be chosen by students. RESPONSE

Trustees said the idea has merit but noted that the university is multicultural. DEMAND

Secure the resignations of Nira Long and the other trustees named by Mayor Marion Barry, as well as student representative Cynthia Smith. RESPONSE

Trustees rejected these demands. DEMAND

Declare an amnesty for students participating in the building occupation. RESPONSE

Trustees said this proposal is contingent on the students' leaving the building on their own and not destroying property.