by Sasha Tremento
In what Barston College President Myron Pilsney calls a “win-win solution,” cutting costs but maintaining faculty morale, the college is promoting professors granted tenure directly to emeritus status.
“It addresses the fiscal climate,” he told an uncharacteristically quiet faculty senate yesterday, “while maintaining morale. Tenure-track assistant professors have worked very hard to get where they are and, if they’re promoted, we want to grant them the recognition they so richly deserve. At the same time, we’ve vastly reduced our course catalog and really have no positions to fill. By making these hard-working folks emeritus, we tip our hats to their academic achievements in a manner commensurate with our resources.”
The newly emeritus professors will receive no pension or benefits beyond those to which they are entitled if they’ve worked at the college for the requisite 21 years it takes to be vested in their 401(k) plans. But, Pilsney explained, they will have 50-percent discounts on fees to enter the gymnasium, pool, campus art museum, and food halls, as well as all sporting events.
“I think it’s super,” said Lydia Bratten, assistant professor in the Spanish literature and culture department, which is slated, under a controversial restructuring next year, to be folded into the biology department. Bratten’s tenure-review committee is scheduled to meet later this month and, she says, “this plan would allow me to be part of a vital academic culture without the difficulty of arranging my budget and logistics around furloughs.”
But Martin Squire, who has taught physics for 34 years and is scheduled to retire next year, dislikes the initiative. “I earned my retirement the old-fashioned way,” he says, “by having a career first. I think these younger folks just want retirement handed to them on a silver platter.”