It's the story of the reluctant retirees. As a twist on the pension restructuring law which is now tied up in courts, a glitch in the bill effectively, university pension counselors say, forces faculty members to retire May 15 or forfeit significant benefits.
At a special meeting today Friday University of Illinois trustees and administrators got an earful.
“The course I prepared last fall for next fall won't be taught by me,” said Tim Keiderling, a chemistry professor at the university's Chicago campus. “The course that I teach every year to graduate students, that I've developed over 20 years, and is absolutely unique in our department, won't be offered next year.”
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“It's a question about what's prudent in the rest of my life,” said longtime College of Education professor Steve Tozer. “This is why you get the language from some of my colleagues who say, 'I'm being forced to retire.' There's some level at which we're not being forced to retire. The prudent decision is to retire and not take a significant hit” on one's pension.
The trustees heard stories of star professors in their 40s and 50s taking out-of-state job offers to continue their careers.
“I just want to apologize to the entire faculty for allowing this to get this far,” board of trustees chairman Chris Kennedy said, “for putting our entire university at risk, and putting the future of our state at risk, I apologize for that.”