Oh Brave New World

March 11, 2014, 10:15 am


Have administrators at Columbia’s Mailman School considered closing their budget gap with a bake sale? Maybe asking faculty to shill gift wrap and ginormous candy bars door to door?

That has such people in it.

Here’s a novel way to lighten the burden of paying faculty salaries: make them figure out how to pay their own salaries! As Inside Higher Ed reports, Columbia University has notified several longterm non-tenure stream faculty in the Mailman School of Public Health (including Carol Vance and Kim Hopper) that they will be terminated for not meeting 80% of their salaries with outside funding.

According to, in 2013 the university had the ninth largest endowment in the United States, at $8.197 billion dollars.

Read the article: I could only garble this story more by trying to recapitulate it. But if they are trying to fire people, why not be respectful after decades of service and negotiate phased retirement packages? By my calculations Vance is 67, which is in the comfort zone of retiring but not a great time of life to find yourself looking for a new job. Giving someone the job of funding their own salary in a diminishing grant environment, while they are pursuing their teaching, scholarship and supervision of graduate students full time, is a fishy way to give your payroll a haircut.

Maybe Columbia should have just tried it this way:

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