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UDC Board May Ask President to Repay Part of Air Fare Costs

University of the District of Columbia President Allen L. Sessoms may get high marks for his innovative approach to running the school. He split the school in two, forming a community college with open admissions and a four-year university with higher tuition and admission standards.

Enrollment and revenue are up.

Trustees, however, may ask him to repay some of the money he spent on first-class air fare. University leaders say UDC policy does not normally cover the costs of luxury accommodations such as first-class travel.

Sessoms claims he buys refundable tickets because he has an ever-changing schedule, and he flies first class because he has circulatory problems in his legs.

Student leaders, meanwhile, are calling for his resignation, alleging that the administrator has spent lavishly on himself while raising tuition and cutting programs at the District’s public university.

Sessoms’ new tuition schedule effectively doubled the cost for a four-year student. He also alienated much of the faculty when he disbanded the academic senate, saying the group wielded too much power.

Many faculty are upset over a proposal that Sessoms released last week to reduce or consolidate almost 20 academic programs. Faculty association president Mohamed El-Khawas says the president didn’t consult faculty or trustees.

Still, much of the outcry over Sessoms’ travel expenses has focused on an $8,000 ticket to Egypt. A private Egyptian university covered the cost of the flight. But UDC paid for other trips including those taken by other faculty members.


The expense records released by UDC are incomplete, an error Sessoms blames on poor record-keeping. He says the president’s office always spends less than its full allotment of travel funds.

The board of trustees has called for an audit.

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