Shane Bodrero e-mailed me that professors no longer have to retire at age 65 because the government regards such mandatory retirement as age discrimination. Just as I suspected. He also sent this rather fascinating 2000 NYT article Tenure Gridlock: When Professors Choose Not to Retire on a president’s attempts to reform the tenure system at Muhlenberg College. I wonder how successful those efforts have been.
Most revealing was this passage:
“He [the president of the college] makes it quite plain that he views older faculty members as an encumbrance,” said Richard C. Hatch, 63, a chemistry professor who has been on the faculty since 1962. “He would just as well see those nearing retirement get out as soon as possible, and I guess I’m one of those.”
Dr. Hatch says he is looking forward to retirement at the end of the next academic year, thanks to what he calls “a very good retirement package” offered by Muhlenberg and managed by the pension fund TIAA-CREF. But he adds that he does not appreciate the feeling that he and other senior colleagues are being pushed toward the door.
“I feel more and more like a dinosaur,” he said. “It is more difficult to keep up with developments in the discipline, but I also find myself out of step with the attitudes that the newer faculty has towards what a college like this should be.”
So this ancient chemistry professor isn’t really able to do his job anymore and is offered a great retirement package. But he’s resentful! Amazing!