Dr. Rachel Petty to oversee UDC day-to-day operations

An administrator at the University of the District of Columbia has been chosen to lead day-to-day operations at the university until an interim executive is named.

The appointment of Dr. Rachel Petty comes several days after Dr. Allen Sessoms, the former president of the university, was terminated.

“Dr. Petty is the right person at the right time to assume this leadership position,” said Dr. Elaine Crider, a member of the school's Board of Trustees. “Her dedication to this University is well known, and we are excited about the future.”

Petty held positions of chair of the department of psychology and counseling, acting vice president for academic affairs, and dean of the college of arts and sciences.

The university's board of trustees announced the firing of Sessoms in a statement Wednesday night. The decision followed a four-hour closed-door meeting.

Sessoms had been president of UDC since September 2008. He served previously as president of the Delaware State University and Queens College.

The trustees said in their statement that they're seeking a new leader to guide the university through "the challenges of reducing staff and programs" while trying to attract new students.