The University Record, November 9, 1992

Task force studies consequences of prohibiting mandatory retirement

Now that faculty members can teach beyond the age of 70, what, if any, policy changes should be enacted by the University?

The Ad Hoc Task Force on Mandatory Retirement, established by the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs and Provost Gilbert R. Whitaker Jr., is considering the potential consequences of a state law, which went into effect May 1, 1991, that prohibits organizations from forcing persons into retirement at any certain age.

The law specifically prohibits requiring “an employee of an institution of higher education who is serving under a contract of unlimited tenure ... to retire from employment on the basis of the employee’s age.” Before the law was enacted, the U-M required faculty to retire at age 70, notes philosophy Prof. Stephen L. Darwall, chair of the ad hoc committee.

Darwall says establishment of the committee represents a cooperative effort by the administration and faculty governance to shape a timely response to a change that may have far-reaching consequences for the University.

Darwall is expected to report to Senate Assembly on the task force’s progress and to solicit faculty opinions at the December Assembly meeting.

Darwall says he and other members of the task force welcome opinions and insights, by letter or electronic mail, from members of the University community.

Task force members include: Gerald D. Abrams, professor of pathology; Harold E. Arnett, professor of accounting; Colleen Dolan-Greene, assistant vice president for academic affairs-personnel; Anna R. Herzog, associate research scientist, Institute for Social Research and Institute of Gerontology, and adjunct associate professor of psychology; and Mary Ann P. Swain, associate vice president for academic affairs.