This article was published in the 2009 Year in Review issue of The Daily Tar Heel.
Several months after a scandal at N.C. State University prompted a review of UNC-system policies, some concrete changes could finally come to fruition.
The UNC-system Board of Governors has been discussing retreat rights since its first meeting of the 2009-10 academic year in August.
“Retreat rights” is the collective term for policies governing university administrators who step down to faculty positions.
The policies concern paid leave time for resigning administrators, meant to be used to “retool” for a return to teaching, and the level of compensation awarded.
UNC-system President Erskine Bowles said in a memorandum released ahead of the October meeting that the retreat rights policies were excessive and lacked accountability and specificity.
“I think that is a bit too generous and more than market,” Bowles said in October about the policy.
In November, the personnel and tenure committee approved a revised policy for chancellors and presidents, and in January, the full board will vote on the policy.
The complexity of retreat rights and disparate opinions among university leaders and board members stalled the process more than once.
At the October board meeting, voting on a proposed policy had to be postponed until the November meeting because too many board members still didn’t understand the policies.
The issue of retreat rights policy was brought to light in August 2009, when the (Raleigh) News & Observer uncovered deals made for NCSU administrators, who later resigned.
His list of recommended changes — cutting paid leave time from one year to six months and dropping salaries to the same level as faculty in comparable positions — became the framework for the policy approved by the personnel and tenure committee in November.
A provision was tacked on to the policy in November that will allow Bowles to extend the six-month leave to a year if he feels it is warranted.
“We needed the latitude to make the leave longer,” said board Chairwoman Hannah Gage. “We said all along that we want to make sure the policy is one that enables us to be competitive.”
After voting on the policy for chancellors and presidents in January, the board will move on to the policy for lower-level administrators.
Contact the State & National Editor at email@example.com.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.