University of the District of Columbia may cut NCAA sports, several academic programs

The cuts could cost UDC its athletic program and nearly half of its graduate academic programs. Photo: Matthew Bisanz

(WJLA) - Intercollegiate sports and nearly half of the graduate academic programs at the University of the District of Columbia may be eliminated due to massive budget cuts.

UDC, which boasts nearly 5,500 full-time students at its Northwest Washington campus, is seeking to increase revenues and growth at the school, but that plan comes with cuts to the university's $169 million annual budget.

The budget issues were first reported by the Washington Post.

Those cuts, according to the Post's Nick Anderson, would include the possible elimination of 23 of the 55 baccalaureate and graduate programs that have low enrollment, including sociology and physics.

The school's athletic program, which sponsors Division II teams in 10 men's and women's sports, would also be cut, saving what the Post reports would be about $4.4 million.

The plan will be presented to the school's Board of Trustees on Nov. 19.

UDC Interim President James Lyons says that large sum of money is allocated to just about 100 athletes. He says that money could be used for other things, including upgrading the schools IT infrastructure and add to the school's burgeoning math and nursing programs.

While players were instructed not to speak about the potential cuts, UDC Athletic Director Patricia Thompson is in strong disagreement with Lyons over the merits of the school's sports programs.

"I believe intercollegiate athletics contributes in a very positive way to the life of the university," Thompson said. "Our students athletes do very well in the classroom as well as in their respective sports."

Part of the plan to grow in both enrollment and revenue, the report says, would be to target adults and people undergoing career changes.

In a city with a handful of nationally-prominent private universities, the University of the District of Columbia is the city's only public school. The school as it's known today was formed in 1977 with the merger of the District of Columbia Teachers College and the Washington Technical Institute.

The school held an emergency meeting about its future this past February in the wake of a spate of job cuts that cost 10 percent of the school's faculty and staff their jobs.

"I think the community is a vital part of what the university's doing right now, and we need to make sure it's shored up," D.C. Councilman and UDC alumnus Kenyan McDuffie said at the time.

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