Much has been made of the administration’s proposal to institute a one-year salary freeze for professors, staff, and librarians. That has understandably upset a number of people, but it pales in comparison to what’s going on up at Brandeis: Professors are considering reducing their salaries by one percent to avoid staff layoffs:
Lawyers are still vetting the details of the proposal but, in short, interested faculty would contribute to the cause either by forgoing 1 percent of their paychecks, or via a charitable contribution to a reserved Brandeis fund. Faculty would volunteer individually and anonymously (“only the payroll office would know,” Flesch said), without any cuts to their listed base pay. And, to avert concerns about freeloading, contributions would kick in only if there is a critical mass of willing faculty — if those who volunteer collectively earn at least 30 percent of the total faculty salary pool within the College of Arts and Sciences.
Concerns voiced about the Brandeis proposal at a recent faculty meeting reflect, at least in part, questions of trust. According to Flesch’s account, and an account in the student newspaper, some faculty raised concerns that the foregone pay would be used for purposes other than shielding staff, and, more philosophically, that the administration would see the move as a concession suggesting that faculty could be paid less in the future.
I don’t know how the salaries of Brandeis professors compare to those at Wes, but this seems like a pretty drastic step to take. Talk about altruism.
Inside Higher Ed: Taking One (Percent) for the Team