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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."
"As to what kind of research, or where, that depends on the circumstances. Rosovsky said, referring to the Warren Center summer stipends granted to the American history professors.
Rosovsky added that he would "not consider it terribly appropriate" if the American history professors who accept stipends "spent their summers in total leisure."
Some History Department faculty and Faculty administrators said this week they believe the existence of the summer stipends for the tenured American history professors discourages them from searching for "outside funding" for their summer activities.
Some History department sources said this week the Warren Center summer stipends allow the American history professors to receive double funding for the summer research they undertake, both from the Warren Center and from an extra-University source.
Rosovsky declined to comment on whether or not such double funding occurs, or whether such double funding, if it occurs, is proper.
The programs of the Warren Center, which are publicized in the Center's annual reports, include the Warren Fellows program, which brings between ten and 15 post-doctoral American history scholars to the Center each year to work on well-defined research proposals.
A Faculty fellows program grants tenured American history professors one-half salary when they want to take a leave of absence for research. Smaller programs grant graduates and undergraduates limited funding for summertime research projects. Additionally, a substantial portion of the income of the Center's endowment goes to fund the chairs of three American history professors.
One tenured non-Americanist in the History department said earlier this week, "Some of us are very unhappy that more of the money is not being used to fund the work of outside scholars," referring to the Warren Fellows program. Relatively less money should be allocated for summer stipends, the professor added.
A History Department professor said the use of the Warren Center's money for stipends creates serious slaries inequities "at a University which is not supposed to pay salaries according to a 'star' system, where the best-known professors get paid more than all the rest. We're all supposed to be stars here," the professor added.
One senior Americanist said the rest of the department "doesn't care about" the amount of funding that is allotted for the Warren Fellows. "It's simply a matter of some people getting more money than others," the faculty member said. "Each person would like everybody to get the same salary, as long as he gets a little more."
Although Fleming and Rosovsky would not release the relevant funding information, one Warren Center source said that the amount of funding alloted to the post-doctoral Warren Fellows has declined in recent years.
The Warren Center regularly chooses some fellows who have all of their research funding from an outside source. They mainly receive only office space, secretarial help, xeroxing privileges, and University Library privileges as Warren Fellows. At least three of this year's Warren Fellows receive most of their funding from outside organizations, according to a Warren Center source.
History professors disagreed sharply in describing the tone of the discussion of summer stipends at the last Faculty meeting. Oscar Handlin, Pforzheimer University Professor and a senior Americanist, said earlier this week that the allocation of summer stipends did not arise as a serious issue for discussion at the last senior faculty meeting in the History department. He added he does not believe the summer stipend issue is "a major source of tension" in the department.
Handlin described the money going to the tenured American history professors through the summer stipends as a "very small" part of the Warren Center budget. "Only one Europeanist [at the meeting] felt surly about the fact that no one had cut him into anything," Handlin said.
Senior faculty members in European history this week disagreed sharply with Handlin. "Some members of the department--certainly at least a half-dozen--expressed surprise and indignation at what emerged at that faculty meeting," one senior Europeanist said. "And that does not take account of the people that, though absent from the meeting, expressed similar sentiments later."
David S. Landes, Goelet Professor of French History, said yesterday, "Given the scope of Professor Handlin's indiscretion, I can well understand his desire to limit the damage."
Landes yesterday confirmed that during the coming week he intends to resign from the History department and join the Economics department, effective July 1.
Handlin, who is currently in San Diego, could not be reached for further comment despite repeated efforts.
Handlin, as a University Professor, receives a 12-month salary, and is thus ineligible to collect the summer stipend from the Warren Center.
According to one Warren Center source, the practice of making summer stipends from Warren Center income available to the American history professors on a regular basis began only in recent years. The source said that the practice became widespread after Rosovsky used offers of summer stipends as a bargaining chip in bringing to the University David Donald, Warren Professor of American Civilization, Stephen Thernstrom, professor of History, and Robert Fogel, who holds appointments in both Economics and History.
After the new senior American history professors were allowed access to the Warren funds for summer stipends, other tenured American history professors demanded access to the money as well, the source said. Rosovsky yesterday refused to confirm or deny this analysis.
Rosovsky and Fleming both repeatedly refused to release any Warren Center budgetary information this week.
"This sort of thing ought not to come out," Fleming said, referring to the details of the Center's budget.
He did, however, describe the amount of Warren Center funds going to the summer salaries as "substantial," though less than the total income being used to fund the Warren Fellows program.
One Warren Center source estimated that about 15 to 20 per cent of the Warren Center's annual income is utilized to fund the summer stipends.
The Crimson reached a similar estimate through an analysis of the yearly endowment income of the Warren Center, which are public record, and anonymous reports of the range of academic salaries paid to the senior Americanists, and the number of professors who request the stipend from the Center each summer.
Though a substantial number of members of the History Department this week said they believe the use of the Warren Center income is improper, none suggested that the funding procedures are illegal.
According to the terms of the Charles Warren endowment, the "enumeration of ways and uses shall not be deemed exclusive of other uses" to which the President "in his discretion may see fit to apply the net income of the fund."
Junior History faculty and History graduate students contacted this week consistently said they did not know that Warren Center summer stipends for the senior Americanists existed.
One departmental source described the Warren Center as "a very comfortable cow, where everybody's got a teet. The question is who's pulling hardest and when is the cow going to run dry.
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