The utilization of income from the endowment of the University's American history research center to pay tenured American history professors summer stipends totalling as much as 22 per cent above their regular academic salaries has sparked a serious controversy among the History faculty, dividing senior Europeanists and Americanists in the department.
The disputes over the propriety of the use of an estimated 15 to 20 per cent of the yearly income of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History endowment--a use of funds which is not cited in the annual reports published by the center--surfaced last week after reports of a recent, particularly acrimonious History Department senior faculty meeting.
Although some tenured American history professors refused to comment on the summer stipends, declaring them a confidential "salary issue" and others even expressed no knowledge of the summer stipends, Donald Fleming, Trumball Professor of American History and director of the Warren Center, confirmed earlier this week
Serious conflicts within the History Department have emerged, centering the easy access of tenured American History faculty to substantial summer stipends from the income of the endowment of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. that the WarrenCenter grants the summer stipends to an unnamed number of American history professors, but only "with the understanding they will be used for research during the summer months."
The board of directors of the Warren Center determine which tenured American history professors will be entitled to the summer stipends, Fleming said.
The Warren Center board is composed of seven of the eight tenured American history professors.
Fleming said earlier this week that the process for determining who receives the stipends is a fairly informal one. "We [the faculty members who run the center] have a little discussion about it. I don't do any spying on it," he added, referring to the fact that he does not check to make sure that the professors are actually conducting the research for which the funds are requested.
"There's no accountability," Fleming said. "Research grants are research grants. There's never any accountability after the fact," Fleming added.
According to one source close to the Warren Center, generally five to seven of the senior American history professors receive the summer stipends each year. One professor reportedly receives nearly $12,000 a year in additional income under the stipend plan.
The Charles Warren Center has an endowment totalling about $5 million making its endowment more than three times as large as any other center at the University that does not conduct work in the natural sciences. Most research centers at the University are funded by yearly grants and gifts from University and external sources, and have no endowments whatsoever.
Robert Kaufmann '62, associate dean of the Faculty for financial affairs, said this week that about one half of all Faculty members earn summer income, though it is "not a common procedure" for the professors to receive summer stipends from the income of endowed University funds.
Dean Rosovsky said that the 22 per cent summer stipend limitation applies throughout the Faculty, but he adds that the stipend is most often used to pay professors for research funded by non-University sources such as private foundations and the federal government.
According to Rosovsky, most "reputable" outside funding sources grant money to professors for summer research using the University as a middleman. Only the flow of money to professors handled by the University can be limited according to the per cent of salary-summer stipend arrangement.
Rosovsky added that many professors may earn substantial income during the summer which cannot be limited by University regulations, as when economics professors working for outside consulting firms.
Rosovsky said that the uniqueness of the summer income situation of the American history professors stems from their "access to a large endowment which is limited to certain kinds of uses."