DC Council Hears UDC Controversy

UDC President's Travel Expenses Comes Under Fire

By John Schriffen
|  Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011  |  Updated 8:16 PM EDT
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The board of trustees at UDC are investigating the travel spending practices of <a title=President Allen Sessoms." />

John Schriffen

The board of trustees at UDC are investigating the travel spending practices of President Allen Sessoms.

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UDC Students Protest Schools President

The University of the District of Columbia president addresses concerns over his spending and travel as rallying students demand his resignation.
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In front of the D.C. City Council Tuesday, University of the District of Columbia President Dr. Allen Sessoms was bombarded with questions about his spending habits.

Sessoms recently came under fire for racking up travel expenses including a first-class flight to Egypt that cost almost $8,000. Sessoms said all of his business trips have been in the best interest of the University.

“We have a program that’s been going on in Egypt for 14 years,” Sessoms said. “We’ve been delivering degrees there for 14 years. We have never taken advantage of the alumni network that was built. No one ever went over and touched the alumni, some of whom are particularly successful.”

But many UDC students are not happy about what’s going on. On Monday, dozens protested and questioned if trips around the world are appropriate at a time when classes and programs at home are being scaled back. Tuesday, the founders of the group Save UDC attended the hearing with the hopes of getting some answers.

“We do want the resignation of our president,” UDC student Melody Marsh said. “We do not feel like he is a good leader. He doesn’t answer any questions.”

To make sure Sessoms has not acted inappropriately, the University’s Board of Trustees has begun an internal audit to go over the travel receipts, but concerns were raised because the auditor reports directly to Sessoms.

“We have good faith in her ability to conduct an independent audit,” said Joseph Askew, chairman of the UDC Board of Trustees.

“The student population does want an external audit,” UDC student Veronica Alcantara said. “Someone from outside the university to come in. We’re hoping that city officials will approve of that.”

UDC’s Board of Trustees hopes to have the internal audit completed by the end of the month. At that point, if any of the business expenses are found to be out of line with the university’s policies, Sessoms could be asked to pay for them himself.

In the meantime, students said protests on campus will continue until Sessoms steps down.

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