Proposal could give Barry teaching post

Friends and supporters of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry (D) have established a fund to urge him to accept a visiting professorship with the consortium of universities in the metropolitan area, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

But GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said GW does not have enough information to make a decision about whether it would offer Barry a position on the University faculty.

The Post reported that the offer of a visiting professorship with the consortium will hinge upon the mayor’s decision not to run for re-election.

Barry has served four terms the city’s mayor – 16 of the last 24 years.

Some Barry supporters have said the mayor will decide soon if he plans to run for re-election, but others said the mayor will make his decision closer to the deadline to declare mayoral candidacy in July, The Post reported.

But Trachtenberg called the proposal “a media creation.”

He said the media is ahead of itself in its coverage of the proposal to give Barry a teaching spot.

Some students who came out for Barry’s speech on campus last week said the proposal to offer a professorship to the mayor represents a creative ploy to get him out of office.

“Usually the (GW) administration uses its ingenious scheming to pull a fast one on students, but this time they are using their skills constructively for the betterment of the city,” said Adam Green, events director for the College Democrats, which sponsored Barry’s speech.

Trachtenberg said he will reserve judgment until he sees if a proposal to appoint Barry as visiting professor emerges at the consortium board meeting in April.

“We are neither for it nor against it. We don’t have enough facts,” Trachtenberg said.

The 12-school consortium includes American, Catholic, Gallaudet, George Mason, GW, Georgetown, Howard, Marymount, and Southeastern universities, Trinity College, the University of the District of Columbia and the University of Maryland-College Park.

The consortium oversees intra-university activities and enables students to enroll in courses and borrow resources from the other schools in the D.C. area.

Trachtenberg said if Barry accepts the proposal, the mayor – who has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry – could give lectures and teach or co-teach courses.

The Post reported that Barry would teach urban politics courses in consortium schools.

Some students said they are wary of the prospects of the mayor, who was convicted of drug possession in 1991, serving on GW’s faculty.

“Any mayor of a major city may after a long experience be an appropriate person to teach a course for urban politics,” said CD President Adam Segal. “However, Marion Barry’s performance as mayor, and as a role model have not been up to par with traditional standards for distinguished professors.”

The decision, however, ultimately depends on the details of the proposal and the mayor’s intentions, Trachtenberg said.

“We haven’t heard anything from the mayor,” Trachtenberg said. “I have to get a sign from him. I may love a woman, but if I don’t propose to her, she can’t accept.”

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