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Thursday, May 14, 2015

In Wake of 35% Enrollment Decline, Pace Law School Dean Cuts Faculty Pay 10%, Eliminates Research Stipends And Sabbaticals, And Warns Faculty Not To Speak To Press

Pace (2015)Brian Leiter (Chicago) reports that in the face of a $5 million deficit, Pace Law School Dean David Yassky has pledged to cut $2.1 million of that deficit through a 10% salary cut for all faculty, elimination of all research stipends and sabbaticals, and a 5% salary cut for senior staff. Perhaps most curiously:

[T]he Dean, according to one source, "forbade anyone from speaking to the press about this. The materials he passed out carried two watermarks, one large across the text, and another secret one (or so he said), with each faculty member's name so he will know who the leak is, he said.

Pace's enrollment has declined 35% since 2011, and its 25th/50th/75th LSAT has fallen three points, to 148/151/153.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/05/in-wake-of-35-enrollment-decline-pace-law-school-dean-cuts-faculty-pay-10.html

Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

Firms did this at the crumbling banks during the financial crisis.

They would send "internal use only" in large letters, and then in white text in small font hidden in the body, so the email search criterion would pick up the small hidden text even if the larger one was deleted.

I recall a few people getting canned due to this. the firms were on the "one less severance package" footing, and were happy to find a "for cause" firing.

Two ways around this :

(1) screen shot. it blows away any searchable watermarks when converted to a picture file.

(2) take out smartphone. take picture of screen. email picture.

Posted by: terry malloy | May 14, 2015 6:21:23 AM

The watermark thing is interesting. I would think the watermark would not show up if the faculty member xeroxed the document, or scanned it. The thing to do is to have a small different changed word or typo in each version (without telling anyone) that when the copies appear you can trace it back,

Posted by: Curious | May 14, 2015 7:13:21 AM

Pro tip: don't use a company machine to email.

if you screen shot, save to a usb drive, go to a public computer (e.g., kinko's/stapels) create a new gmail account and mail to recipient. same for a picture taken with a smartphone.

do not scan on a company scanner.

Posted by: terry malloy | May 14, 2015 7:29:52 AM

It's funny to me that the comments so far focus on getting around the watermark issue, from both sides. That was actually the first thing I pondered, too. I suppose that's easier than figuring out what to do about the huge shift in legal ed.

Posted by: Tracy Norton | May 14, 2015 8:01:14 AM

If this covers $2.1 of a $5 million deficit, what is the plan for the rest of it, or is the University swallowing it indefinitely?

Posted by: butch | May 14, 2015 8:10:15 AM

There are some decent folks at Pace (I taught there years ago), but a school whose only distinction is "we're the only law school between NYC and Albany" really does face some hard choices in the current environment. And the dean's attempt to impose corporate-management methods on a law faculty -- any law faculty -- is bound to boomerang.

Posted by: Steve Zorn | May 14, 2015 8:18:07 AM

Such a threat from a dean is likely to backfire. Lots of deans are doing it, but better to own your cuts like W&L than cover them up.

With this type of "leadership" by Dean Yassky, the best faculty members will leave for other schools. Wonder if this is why Ann Bartow is leaving Pace for UNH.

Not many places for faculty members to leave for at this moment in time, but there will be in future years and this management style will not be forgotten by the faculty.

Posted by: RERE | May 14, 2015 10:59:46 AM

I'm on the Pace faculty and this is not an accurate portrayal of what happened at this meeting. There were no threats. We certainly are not celebrating the salary reduction, but we understand the necessity in order to maintain the quality of the education we provide for our students. And our University stands behind us.

Posted by: David Dorfman | May 14, 2015 5:34:33 PM

So, what is the accurate portrayal of what has happened? Only respond if a watermark doesn't prevent you. Out of curiosity, who stands behind Pace Law School's operating deficit (assuming there is one, and a watermark doesn't demand your silence), and who stands behind the BB+ rating on Pace's bonds?

Posted by: NOT David Dorfman | May 14, 2015 11:11:16 PM

Perhaps Professor Dorfman could share a copy of the memo to prevent any confusion.

Posted by: butch | May 15, 2015 9:36:57 AM

The watermark prevents nothing and if you knew me, it wouldn't matter. I speak my mind. The decision re the salary cut as well as the other cuts was made by the Dean in consultation with the faculty Administration and Budget committee as well as the University. There remains a deficit that is being financed by the University. The President of the University is our former Law School Dean and he and the Board of Trustees are big supporters of the Law School. None of what happened at the faculty meeting was a big surprise, and the tone of the Dean's remarks carried no hint of intimidation.

Posted by: David Dorfman | May 15, 2015 2:13:46 PM

David, you were asked for a copy of the document in question. BTW, calling it an 'internal memorandum' is not much of an excuse, since that could be used to declare any document 'confidential'.

Posted by: Barry | May 20, 2015 9:06:25 AM

Hahaha. Suck it up, law professors. The years of unemployment you imposed on your graduates are about to hit you now. And you deserve it!

Posted by: lawschoolfilth | May 30, 2015 8:48:47 PM