Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

36 professors retire as retrenchment date nears

Posted on October 27, 2014 in News
By Francis Flisiuk

In response to a strong urge from the administration and a financial incentive to retire early, 25 faculty members from USM have voluntarily decided to step down from their teaching positions.

The biggest facets of President David Flanagan’s $16-million budget saving plan includes, most recently, eliminations of the French and applied medical science departments and cuts to both the faculty and administrative staff. Judie O’ Malley, the assistant director of public affairs, confirmed that if each department was to meet its reduction specified by the Provost McDonnell, that no retrenchments would be required.

O’Malley noted, however, that that only pertains to this fiscal year, and things could change next year.

According to O’Malley, the administration would have been happy if all 50 positions were eliminated through retirement, but the current number of early retirees also pleases the administration.

The plan originally was to make the early retirement packages attractive enough for even more faculty members to voluntarily decide to take them. Chris Quint, USM’s director of public affairs said that the final decision regarding retrenchments will be made at the end of the month.

“No final determinations have been made regarding specific retrenchments,” said Quint.

According to Rick Abrams, a professor in the English department, the administration is now negotiating retirement deals with interested faculty, whether or not they’ve met the original deadline.

“Well it sounds like they’re offering better deals now,” said Abrams.

Abrams said that he thinks the administration has created a slightly coercive, pressurized environment within departments by pushing retirement incentives to the older faculty members. “I really don’t like the anti-intellectual direction this university has taken,” said Abrams. “They’ve seemed to forgotten the importance of research as well as teaching.”

On top of the 25 faculty members in the process of retiring, there are also an additional 11 from departments that haven’t been targeted, but Quint said those retirements won’t count towards the original quota.

O’Malley said that these retirements will need additional review from the provost, because at least some of them will create vacancies that need to be replaced.

The elimination of 50 faculty, whether it be from retirement or retrenchment is budgeted to save USM six-million dollars, with 3.3 million allegedly saved so far. Some faculty members are skeptical and are concerned that a lot of retirements might cost the school more money than it saves.

“Everybody is asking, ‘how on earth are they going to pay next year’s budget if they are paying out a bunch of severance?’” said Abrams. “At 1.5 times their salary, it would be cheaper to teach.”

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