Quick Takes: Tax Issue for 10-Month Profs, Sallie Mae Pledges Loans for All, 9-Week TA Strike at McGill May End, Dartmouth Alumni Reject Suit, Out With the Old, Bill Clinton Pulls Out of UCLA Speech, Graduation on the Road

June 11, 2008
  • Changes in federal tax law governing deferred compensation may create headaches for some faculty members. Deferred compensation is typically an issue for senior executives who want to avoid receiving too much of their income in any one tax year, but changes in tax law also apparently will apply to a group of academics who are not nearly as well compensated. An analysis released by the American Association of University Professors notes that many faculty members who work on 10-month contracts prefer to be paid over 12 months. Technically, the pay received for the summer months following a traditional academic year is deferred compensation for work performed in part the prior tax year, bringing these academics under the rules. The AAUP is advising such faculty members to review the regulations and consider options with tax advisers.
  • Sallie Mae, falsely rumored just weeks ago to be on the verge of leaving federal loan programs, issued a statement Tuesday saying that it would be able to provide federal loans to all eligible students at every eligible college and university. The announcement comes at a time that the moves by some lenders away from the loan program have prompted fears of a loan shortfall.
  • Graduate teaching assistants at McGill University, in Montreal, will vote tomorrow on an arbitrator-proposed plan to end their nine-week strike, Maclean's reported. While union leaders endorsed the deal, they continue to negotiate over the status of some striking students who were removed from non-union jobs they held in addition to their teaching assistant positions, and the union has vowed to take those cases to court if necessary.
  • Dartmouth College announced Tuesday that alumni voted to elect a slate of candidates to lead the alumni association who were opposed to a suit filed by the association, seeking to block the expansion of the college's board. The board expansion has been pushed as a way to modernize the college's governance and improve fund raising, but some alumni critics -- including those who sued to block it -- see an effort to minimize their role.
  • Hundreds of part-time lecturers at Britain's Open University over the age of 65, many of them with decades of experience, are losing their jobs. Unlike the United States, Britain allows universities to have mandatory retirement laws, but does subject them to certain tests. As The Guardian reported, the university was told by a government board that it if it wanted to keep its mandatory faculty retirement age of 65 for full-time faculty members, it couldn't ignore the requirement for part timers. Rather than abandon mandatory retirement, the university decided to dismiss the older part timers.
  • Bill Clinton has called off his planned commencement address Friday at the University of California at Los Angeles. Clinton withdrew at the request of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents about 5,400 UCLA employees. AFSCME employees throughout the University of California have been working without a contract while engaged in negotiations with the university system. Clinton and UCLA announced that because a contract for the union is not a sure thing by Friday, it was best for him to pull out now, so plans could be adjusted. Gene Bloch, UCLA's chancellor, will give the keynote address.
  • Recent brain surgery made it impossible for Jessica Platt to attend her graduation at Knox College. So the college took graduation to her home -- three hours away in Missouri. On Monday, two days after the college's regular graduation, Roger L. Taylor, the president of Knox, and Donna Jurich, one of Platt's professors, along with others from the college, donned their academic robes at a local church to award Platt her degree in style. As The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, Platt couldn't wear the cap on her head because of the recent surgery, but she wore her robe, and had a real graduation.
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