Letter to the Editor University should pay more attention to retirees

Don Wiles’ letter on the loss of university loyalty in the October issue hit several nails squarely on the head. One that needs urgent attention is this: the University’s severing of its link with retired professors, thus cutting off their contribution to university life.

Even though the University offers new retirees some office space, it is shared with several others and since the University has made no special provisions for parking for retirees. The high cost of parking discourages retirees from coming to campus, not only to work, but also to attend Departmental and University events.

There could be a simple solution to this problem, however. The University has already arranged for lecturers teaching a single course to pay 1/5 the cost of a full-time parking permit, also allowing these lecturers to park in any lot on campus. All the University has to do is extend this reduced fee to retirees. Most would have been happy to pay the reduced fee. The additional parking space used by a retiree would have a minimal effect, since most would use it only for brief periods to attend events.

Another factor that has kept retirees at home has been the abolition of the Faculty Club. The Club was about the only way they could continue intellectual exchanges with old academic friends. I am pleased to see the Club may be revived. But unless something is done about parking, most retirees will not be able to come.

I have also felt retirees have been somewhat neglected by the faculty association. Because retirees have inadequate representation in the association, their interests have been mainly ignored. One result of this was the lack of protest over the University’s recent display of bad faith to those already awarded the designation “Professor Emeritus” by abolishing its requirement of renowned scholarly achievement and by awarding it henceforth to all retirees. This has understandably upset previous Emeritus Professors who had gone through a rigorous selection process to receive this special award.

Finally, the policy of the University to cut off research funding after retirement, just when professors at last have time for research is discouraging. A university genuinely interested in the advancement of knowledge would surely support such research. And for its most productive retiring scholars, it would be more generous with office space, equipment and secretarial help. In return they would be a great asset to the intellectual life and reputation of the university.

Don Rowat
Professor Emeritus
Political Science

From – http://www.now.carleton.ca/2004-12/633.htm

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