Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Yale Faculty Call $200,000 Retirement Incentive Offer 'Insulting'

Yale Daily News, Behind Closed Doors, University Creates Controversial Buyout Plan:

Yale University LogoIn August, University Provost Scott Strobel announced the retirement plan, which offers tenured faculty age 70 or older payment equal to $200,000 if their yearly salary is equal to or greater than $200,000. If their salary is less than $200,000, faculty members can receive a payment of 125 percent of this year’s salary up to $200,000. To receive the compensation, faculty have to retire by the end of June 2021. 177 faculty members are eligible for the compensation, provided they sign on by Feb. 28, 2021.

But in creating the plan, the administration did not consult any faculty members. The Inter-school Faculty Working Group’s response to the plan cited financial complications for the faculty that choose to retire under the plan as well as the implications of asking faculty to quickly make a clean break with their longtime place of work.

“I found the ‘offer’ insulting and cold-hearted, also very unattractive,” T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies Carlos Eire wrote in an email to the News. ...

University spokesperson Karen Peart said that though some of the concerns and suggestions in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences response are “well-placed,” others are based on an incomplete understanding of the plan. The Provost’s Office and FAS Dean’s Office are working with the Benefits Office to draft a document of clarification, which they will distribute to faculty in the first weeks of December, Peart added.

Additionally, faculty discussed the plan at the Nov. 19 FAS Senate meeting. The report, drafted by the Yale Inter-school Faculty Working Group, raised numerous concerns with the incentive plan, and suggested they could have been avoided with faculty consultation.

Firstly, the working group’s response noted that faculty should have been consulted, particularly because the plan will have a significant impact on their lives. This lack of consultation “devalues faculty input,” the working group wrote. For matters that affect faculty, the report added, they have traditionally been consulted — a practice that is also used at other universities. ...

Under the plan, faculty would receive a buyout comparable to other universities. However, the one-time pay structure means that faculty will have to pay more taxes on the money than if it were spread out over multiple years. Additionally, because salaries were frozen this year due to the pandemic, faculty who accept the buyout would be paid less than they would if the buyout rate reflected what their salary would be under normal conditions. The working group recommended that the base salary for the plan be 3 percent more than faculty members’ salaries last year. ...

 The report notes that the shorter transition period needs to still allow for faculty to retain their connections to the University — an issue not addressed in the initial plan — which can include an office space, the ability to continue teaching and support in place to ensure that faculty who want to can remain integrated in the intellectual fabric of their school and department.

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According to Marketwatch, the median household retirement savings for Americans aged 65-74 was about $165,000 last year.

Judging by the university, I can safely assume these faculty are to the left politically of the average American of same age group. And, of course, hypocritical beyond belief considering the offer made.

Posted by: MM Classic | Dec 2, 2020 8:48:47 PM

It's less insulting than tuition prices.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Dec 2, 2020 12:19:54 PM