Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How Much Is It Worth to Demoralize the Faculty?

by Barbara Regenspan
Chair, Department of Educational Studies

At (yesterday’s) September 8 faculty meeting we heard from President Herbst that although there had been no calculation of health benefits wrongfully paid out to employees of Colgate University to date, the new policy that requires us to send our marriage licenses and the first page of our income tax returns to the Bonadio Group in order to claim our contractually mandated dependent benefits would save Colgate $48,000.  If the insult to our intelligence of this ghostly calculation were not enough, the President also repeatedly denied any connection between suspicion of fraud and the motivation of the policy.  Yet at the end of the July 30 meeting with the planning board about the equally troubling Fairmount Properties issue, Vice President for Finance and Administration Brian Hutzley, author of the letter demanding our compliance, repeatedly described to me the motivation for the new verification policy, (about which I confronted him) as “the necessity to prevent fraud.”

I believe at this point I share with many faculty the feeling that I am tired of being distracted from the work I love and do well by the need to defend the values of this potentially great institution from the many assaults of rapid corporatization and its attendant dishonesties.  They erode the social contract that binds us, and it is that very (informal) social contract which explains the historic success of Colgate.

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