Presidents at Colleges in D.C. and Baltimore Fired

The trustees at University of the District of Columbia and Baltimore City Community College both recently dismissed their presidents.

Posted: 12/20/2012 04:31 PM EST

Carolane Williams (Photo: Maryland State Archives)

The president of the University of the District of Columbia has been fired by the board of trustees of the school, which has been grappling with dismal graduation rates and financial woes.

Meanwhile, the board of the Baltimore City Community College decided to terminate its president, Carolane Williams.

At the University of the District of Columbia, Allen L. Sessoms will leave the historically Black college just four years after he came to Washington. A temporary replacement will be named within two days, the university said in a statement.

Elaine A. Crider, who chairs the school’s board of trustees, issued a statement announcing the decision to terminate Sessoms. She thanked him for his service but added that as the university wrestles with “the challenges of reducing staff and programs, continuing to improve our physical plant and attracting new students, the board has decided to go in a different direction.”

The university did not offer any additional details on its decision to fire Sessoms.

Last year, the university president was criticized for filing reports that exposed a pattern of flying first class on university business. At the time, Sessoms explained that he needed to buy airline tickets that were refundable and more expensive because of his unpredictable work schedule and his need for additional leg room because of circulatory problems in his legs.

According to federal data, the University of the District of Columbia had about 4,900 students as of fall 2011. The college has long been troubled by low graduation rates. Roughly eight percent of students pursuing a bachelor’s degree who started at the school in fall 2005 graduated within six years, according to the data, with many students transferring to other schools or dropping out.

At the Baltimore City Community College, the board dismissed the school’s president, Carolane Williams, explaining that it “felt there is a new vision and mission for this urban institution and that vision and mission would require new leadership.”

Williams has been president of the college for six years. Before coming to Baltimore, she served as provost of North Broward Community College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In a statement, the board said that they were beginning a search for a new president.

“We seek a president who will help BCCC continue to boost student success, with more of our students earning associate degrees and certificates and transferring to four-year colleges,” the statement said.  

“It is our hope that the college will increase fundraising as well as build even stronger partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, and government to better connect our students with opportunities.”

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