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FAS Tackles Retirement Benefits

Committee Recommends Increasing Payments For Younger Faculty

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Pushing for larger pension contributions and greater retirement incentives, the members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) tackled the ever-sensitive issue of retirement benefits at yesterday's monthly meeting.

The discussion was prompted by the release of the first annual report of the University Benefits Committee (UBC) and an FAS status report on tenured faculty retirement.

The UBC's retirement subcommittee recommended an increase in pension contributions for faculty under age 40 and cost-of-living adjustments for older faculty retirees.

The first change restores the level of Harvard's annual pension contributions for faculty members under age 40 to 5 percent for the salary portion under the Social Security wage base and 10 percent for the remainder. In 1994, the University reduced its contribution to all faculty pension plans by 1 percent.

But Mallinckrodt Professor of Applied Physics William Paul said he believes younger faculty members should be given the same pension benefits that faculty over 40 receive.

"It seems anomalous to me that we regard it as a gain to recoup a 5 percent contribution [for younger faculty]...when members of [the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers] receive a minimum 6.5 percent," Paul said.

The FAS status report discusses the changes in retirement patterns following the University's 1994 abolition of mandatory retirement for faculty members at age 70.

The report notes that while patterns of retirement in the Faculty since the change are not clear, the average age of retirement appears likely to rise.

Warburg Professor of Economics Zvi Griliches said he believes the increase in the number of older faculty will create a fiscal strain on the ability of departments to recruit new junior faculty.

"I think the lack of junior appointments is going to be a real problem," Griliches said. "The cost won't be to the University but to the departments."

Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles acknowledged that the increasing ratio of tenured to non-tenured faculty will likely cause some shifting of resources from junior to senior faculty, but also said he hopes to continue to bring in new faculty.

"If that begins to affect the recruitment of younger and more vibrant colleagues to the Faculty, I should be unhappy," Knowles said.

Knowles also endorsed recommendations of the Resources Committee in the FAS report which called for funding a computer and network connection at home for emeritus faculty who prefer to give up office space and extending retirement and financial planning services to faculty below age 60.

Half-Time Status

Paul also asked Knowles to consider establishing half-time status at half salary as "normal procedure" during the adjustment period for retiring faculty.

"The dean is likely to get more than 50 percent of work from the faculty member during that time," he said.

But Knowles said he will continue to consider requests for such half-time status "on an individual, rather than programmatic, basis" for a maximum of two years.

"The Dean should not make [half-time status] a blanket rule," he added.

Knowles said the retiree's department should be involved in the decision a move to half-time status.

"The chairs of the departments became nervous lest too many of their colleagues went to half-time," he said after the meeting, recalling dis- cussions with department heads three years ago.

Knowles also noted that he has granted all six requests for half-time status that he has received since then.

E-mail Gripes

During the meeting's question period, Professor of Classics and History Christopher P. Jones criticized the recent instability of the FAS computer network.

"Many of us who use e-mail regularly...know that the situation is not well," Jones said. "I would like to know...what amelioration we can hope for."

Knowles noted that the recently released report of the Committee on Information Technology recommends increased expenditures for network backup to prevent such problems.

After the meeting, Jones said he attempted to contact The Crimson by e-mail, but gave up and telephoned instead.

"It does seem to me that the Harvard people should be able to get their act together," he said last night.

Capital Campaign Update

Associate FAS Dean for Development Susan K. Feagin announced yesterday that FAS has raised $610 million in its capital campaign to date, which represents 63 percent of its nearly $1 billion goal.

Feagin said the campaign has been buoyed by the strong performance of the stock market.

Feagin also said that large gifts from young alumni and women donors and volunteers have contributed to the campaign's success

Knowles also noted that he has granted all six requests for half-time status that he has received since then.

E-mail Gripes

During the meeting's question period, Professor of Classics and History Christopher P. Jones criticized the recent instability of the FAS computer network.

"Many of us who use e-mail regularly...know that the situation is not well," Jones said. "I would like to know...what amelioration we can hope for."

Knowles noted that the recently released report of the Committee on Information Technology recommends increased expenditures for network backup to prevent such problems.

After the meeting, Jones said he attempted to contact The Crimson by e-mail, but gave up and telephoned instead.

"It does seem to me that the Harvard people should be able to get their act together," he said last night.

Capital Campaign Update

Associate FAS Dean for Development Susan K. Feagin announced yesterday that FAS has raised $610 million in its capital campaign to date, which represents 63 percent of its nearly $1 billion goal.

Feagin said the campaign has been buoyed by the strong performance of the stock market.

Feagin also said that large gifts from young alumni and women donors and volunteers have contributed to the campaign's success

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