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Brown is looking to change faculty retirement plans as part of University-wide budget cuts, according to recommendations made at the Jan. 26 Faculty Executive Committee meeting.

The Committee on Faculty Equity and Diversity recommended phasing out early retirement programs and instead creating a health care retirement account. Such a policy would reward those seeking later retirement by giving them a greater amount of money to go toward post-retirement health care, according to the meeting's minutes.

Professor of Physics and Vice-Chair of the CFED Michael Kosterlitz said that because of the current economic situation, he didn't see many people taking advantage of the early retirement option for faculty.

"Everyone's retirement fund has taken a gigantic hit," Kosterlitz said. "Until things settle down, I don't see many people retiring." He said he believed that the early retirement policy was being phased out because not many faculty members participated in the program.
The current system that rewards early retirement was intended "to make retirement a little more attractive to a lot of faculty," Kosterlitz said.

But he said he believed few people had taken advantage of the plan. The new policy would use the money saved from the early retirement program to make retirement more attractive to older employees. The money would go toward creating a "health-care retirement account," according to the FEC meeting minutes.

"The main incentive would be if retired faculty could get some kind of medical service," said Kosterlitz.

A new plan to take effect for the upcoming academic year is currently in the works, said Chung-I Tan, chair of the FEC and professor of physics.

Though this plan was originally supposed to be announced in February, "there are certain details that are being worked out," he said.

Finalization could occur "as soon as this month or next month," he said, but he is not entirely sure as to when it will be released.

This faculty proposal follows several programs — including the Voluntary Staff Retirement Incentive — that encouraged early retirement in efforts to cut costs. Between Nov. 4 and Dec. 23, non-faculty staffers who were at least 60 years of age were eligible to retire and receive a year's salary and $15,000 toward "the transition to retirement," according to a University press release on the program.

Despite the University's efforts to encourage faculty retirement, it must work within certain constraints. Tenured faculty cannot be fired and there is no mandatory retirement age, so many faculty members choose to continue to teach and bring home a paycheck as they reach retirement age, Kosterlitz said.

"A lot of people just hang on until they get too old," he said.


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