Daniel Zhao, Senior Photographer
Faced with financial uncertainty brought by the coronavirus pandemic, the University hurriedly drafted a faculty buyout retirement plan, which a faculty working group has now responded to with a list of concerns — the most notable being that the plan was developed without faculty consultation.
In 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. “Glad to see Faculty Senate reaction [and] suggestions.”
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.
Peart said that administrators used input from several deans, who are faculty, in creating the plan. When asked why more faculty were not consulted, Peart explained that the University wanted to unveil the plan as soon as possible.
“With the disruption and underlying uncertainties of the pandemic, it was determined that the plan should be available as soon as possible following those conversations,” she wrote in an email to the News.
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