- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 16, 2003

D.C. Council member Harold Brazil yesterday urged the new provost of the University of the District of Columbia to resign, maintaining she doesn’t have the proper experience or educational credentials.

Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, who was appointed to the $137,000-a-year administrative job by UDC President William L. Pollard, a family friend, has about 18 months of administrative experience and lacks the required doctorate degree for the position, The Washington Times reported July 11.

“I have always believed that proper management starts with proper appointment of qualified administrative officials,” Mr. Brazil, at-large Democrat, said in a statement. “Ms. Reuben-Cooke does not have the basic qualifications for her position and should not continue to hold the position.”

Mr. Brazil also said several inappropriate actions were involved in the hiring, including Mr. Pollard’s bypassing of the university’s board of trustees.

“We must force an appropriate resolution to this unfortunate situation,” he said.

As UDC’s chief academic officer, Mrs. Reuben-Cooke, who began the job yesterday, is responsible for overseeing academic programs, creating academic policy, preparing academic budgets and leading the faculty.

She is married to D.C. lawyer Edmund Cooke, who helped Mr. Pollard secure his $200,000-a-year job at UDC a year ago.

Mr. Pollard dismissed charges of cronyism, saying Mrs. Reuben-Cooke was the best candidate and their personal relationship did not influence his decision. Mr. Pollard said each candidate was vetted by the school’s human resources department and the search committee, but he alone made the hiring decision.

Charles J. Ogletree Jr., chairman of the board of trustees, could not be reached for comment last night, but said before Mr. Brazil’s announcement that he was steadfast in his support of Mr. Pollard’s decision to hire Mrs. Reuben-Cooke.

He also said early yesterday that the board “does not have the authority to decide who the president hires for his executive staff,” but that it supported the decision.

In the university’s advertisement for the job, the minimum educational requirement was identified as a doctorate degree or its equivalent. Mrs. Reuben-Cooke holds a juris doctor degree from University of Michigan Law School and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Duke University. The juris doctor degree is considered equivalent to a master’s degree.

The university’s advertisement also identified the minimum work-experience requirement as an established record as a senior academic administrator.

Mrs. Reuben-Cooke’s resume shows that her only experience as an administrator is 18 months served in the early 1990s as associate dean for academic affairs at Syracuse University College of Law. She also spent four years in the early 1980s as associate director of the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center.

The bulk of her experience has been as a law professor at Syracuse, where Mr. Pollard was a professor of social work and dean of the College of Human Services and Health Professions for nine years.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide