2/5/2010 Financial meltdown; Faculty retirement incentive

Fellow Dukies, good day.
Fact Checker here.

Every time I have read a story on the faculty retirement incentive, administrators have had a new excuse why they cannot provide details. The latest is that while the deadline for applying is past, professors can still flip-flop and decide to stay after all.

Chronicle, thank you for staying atop this.

Administrators, we deserve more transparency and you will face accountability.

It is my understanding that professors are not part of the university retirement plan. I say understanding because Tallman Trask will not respond to inquiries from Deputy Fact Checkers.

Rather than augmenting university pensions as provided in earlier staff retirement incentives, Fact Checker believes Duke is giving professors money directly to add to their own shrunken IRA's. In effect our university is becoming the insurer and guarantor of investment decisions and screw ups.

Moreover, given the pay scale of senior faculty there could be big money involved. Here are statistics from the American Association of University Professors for nine month contracts in the 2008-2009 academic year.

Full professors excluding Medical School

Male $163,600
Female $152,400

Surely our provost knows the total amount of money involved across the university. Surely he can provide some examples, including the high and the low amounts, and average amounts, offered to each professor. He can leave out names; I am not interested in who is reaping the benefits, I want to know about the decision of the Trustees and Brodhead Administration.

Mr Brodhead has scheduled one of his rare appearances on campus in the coming weeks, to discuss with employees -- finally in person -- the fiscal crisis. Maybe someone can ask him -- in writing in advance of course -- for details about the faculty retirement incentive. And we can all hope that this question makes it through the screeners who are filtering out the hard hitting questions for this event.

One analysis that you can count on from Fact Checker: are higher paid employees being given a proportionately bigger incentive. Is the faculty incentive in line with that given to housekeepers and dining hall workers, campus cops and groundskeepers. In other words is our fiscal crisis being played out on the back of our poorest employees, individuals and families least able to take the brunt.

I fear so. I shall find out the truth.

If all this were not so serious, I would be laughing at Mr. Lange. He says the purpose is of incentives for senior faculty to retire is faculty renewal, because otherwise you get stale. That maxim apparently does not apply to our chief academic officer, the 2nd longest serving top administrator.

Have a nice weekend and GO DUKE!

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