Building 39, Room 301-N | 202.274.5935 | 202.274.5779
Increased University Autonomy
The University of the District of Columbia is, by a law, an independent agency within the District of Columbia government. Operationally, this means that many of the University’s administrative and budgetary decisions must receive finally approval from numerous elected and appointed officials within the District of Columbia government. While the University acknowledges that public oversight of public institutions is vital, there are certain functions the University could perform better on its own. These include aspects of day-to-day personnel and budget processes that comparable institutions of higher education in other states have long had independent authority over. The University is currently working with the Mayor’s office and the District of Columbia Council on ways to shift some of these powers from the local government to the University and its Board of Trustees.
Beginning in 2009, the University has planned and embarked on a massive infrastructure improvement program for its Van Ness Campus. In addition, the University has established several large satellite facilities around the city, primarily for the use of the community college program. Understandably, all of this change has generated inquiries and concerns from the surrounding communities. To address this, the University, as part of its recently approved campus master plan, has created the University-Community Task Force. The Task Force meets on a regular basis, provides updates on potential impacts that planned projects may have on the surrounding community, and seeks input from community members on a variety of issues.
Access to Low Cost Capital
As the public institution of higher education for the District of Columbia, the University relies on the District of Columbia government for capital funding. Due to the many valid interests competing for capital funding from the District government, the University has, in the past, been unable to secure the necessary funding for vital infrastructure improvements. To help address this problem, the University, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, is seeking authority to borrow funds from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Program. This authority would have to be granted to the University by the local District of Columbia government, as it is a public institution. Access to the program would allow the University to enhance its capital budget using low-cost federal funds.