The University of the District of Columbia is planning to offer former mayor Marion Barry a teaching position in the Department of Criminal Justice.
Barry would teach seniors studying public and social policy in the administration of justice, Kelsey Jones, the department chairman, said yesterday.
Barry's appointment must be approved by the dean of the college of liberal arts, the vice president for academic affairs and interim President Miles Mark Fisher IV.
Paperwork for the appointment, which Jones said would be for the semester that ends in May, had not reached those offices yesterday. But sources at the university said that UDC officials already have signed off on the Barry appointment.
Barry could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Jones said he has not spoken directly with Barry about the position, which would be a temporary, full-time job. The position would pay $34,000 a year; however, Barry would teach only for a half year.
"I have talked to people who have talked to him about it," Jones said. "Unquestionably, he would be interested. We're going to bring him on board."
Barry, 54, was sentenced in November to six months in prison for a conviction on a misdemeanor charge of possessing cocaine. He has appealed the conviction.
The former mayor recently returned to private life after years as a public official on the D.C. Board of Education, D.C. Council and three terms as mayor.
When he was succeeded as mayor by Sharon Pratt Dixon on Jan. 2, Barry still needed two more years to be eligible for a city pension.
Appointment as a temporary member of the UDC faculty would not add the required years. However, if Barry's status eventually was changed to that of a regular faculty member, the Board of Trustees could move to have his time as a temporary counted toward a city pension.
Criminal justice was the third department at the university where Barry supporters both inside and outside of the university have tried to land a teaching job for the former mayor.
But faculty members opposed his appointment to a position in the departments of political science and urban studies.
And the steering committee of the UDC Faculty Senate previously had scheduled a vote for today on a resolution in opposition to Barry's appointment to a teaching position in any discipline.
The resolution says that giving Barry a teaching job would be viewed by city residents and Congress as "a slap" at Dixon.
E. Dave Chatman, president of the Faculty Senate, said yesterday that eight of the steering committee's 11 members already have indicated they would vote for the resolution.
Chatman said that some faculty members think that getting Barry a temporary teaching position might lead to a permanent staff or administrative spot. A permanent teaching appointment would require the approval of a department's faculty.
"There are some of us who think this is the first step toward appointing him to be the next president of the university," Chatman said.
Jones said Barry's experience as founder of Pride Inc., as a member of the D.C. Council and as mayor outweighs any objections to his appointment because of an image problem.
"He was convicted of a misdemeanor," Jones said.
"He has a right of equal access to employment just like any other citizen."