Brandeis May Institute Hiring Freeze In Response to Financial Difficulties
A freeze on faculty hiring and substantial cutback of junior faculty members may be effected at Brandeis University next year as a result of the university's unsteady financial situation.
An article in the Brandeis student newspaper, The Justice, said last week that 73 terminating faculty contracts will not be renewed in 1971. However, at least 41 faculty members are returning from sabbatical or leaves of absence to create a net cutback of about 30 faculty members.
The majority of those affected by the skimming are non-tenured, junior faculty members holding one-year contracts. Positions vacated by tenured faculty this year will probably not be filled in 1971.
The net cutback of 30 faculty members represents just under ten per cent of Brandeis' faculty of 392. One professor yesterday called the number "unusually high."
Both the faculty senate and the Brandeis chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) are presently investigating a possible hiring freeze.
Professor Stephen Berko, chairman of the faculty senate, said last night, "We all recognize the need for certain cutbacks, but [the faculty senate] hopes to minimize the academic effect on the university. Nothing has been frozen yet-the problem is that we don't know yet how many people we can replace next year."
The executive committee of the Brandeis AAUP met with university president Charles Shotland last Thursday, and one professor on the committee said yesterday that the university may not be able to increase present faculty salaries to meet rises in the cost of living.
"We are concerned not only about the economic effect of a freeze, but also about the morale problems which may result from it. And we are unsure whether administrative cutbacks will accompany faculty cutbacks," he said.
In the event of a hiring freeze, thegraduate schools will be most affected, he added.
Berko cited the lack of clarity characterizing the present situation. "We have no way of knowing how many people will be asked not to return, so now all we can discuss are the priorities for faculty and administrative cutbacks."
Normally, non-tenured faculty who are not going to be rehired are told so by December 1 in accordance with a reappointment stipulation in the Brandeis faculty by-laws. The financial crunch has temporarily delayed those decisions.
Brandeis' financial woes stem largely from unexpected building costs which resulted in an operating deficit of $1,5 million last year and brought the total deficit to more than $10 million. Despite a drop in alumni contributions this year, the Brandeis administration hopes to balance the operating budget in 1971-72.