AU administrators now charge food service workers who are only paid for nine months a year, the same monthly parking charge as $500,000 a year vice-presidents. See what the Eagle had to say about this. But the Eagle spoke up too much. And so the University closed the weekly print edition of the Eagle. They said it cost too much. That $10,000 a year to print it was too much in a non-profit with a $600,000,000 annual budget.
How to Solve the Retirement Crisis at AU with No Cost to Students.
What would it cost to remedy this situation of sixteen over
65-year old workers who can’t retire?
The problem began in the 1980s when AU outsourced or privatized its food service and cleaning services to vendors. AU ignored the policies of these vendors, pretending that AU had no moral responsibility for their actions on campus. Marriott, the first food service vendor made no payments to the pensions of food service workers while it was on campus. There have been a succession of vendors since Marriott.
Please remember in addition to the empty years, approximately 1982-2001, with no retirement contributions, these workers also will receive small social security checks based on many years at or near the minimum wage. The union has identified 16 workers who need help in order to retire.
How much monthly income does a worker needs for a decent retirement?
1. Professor Mary Gray of the Math/Stats Department has suggested using twice the poverty guideline amount for an individual. The national poverty guideline amount excluding Alaska and Hawaii is $11,880. Twice this amount is $23,760.
How much income can a low income worker depend upon from Social Security?
2. A food service worker with 39 years on campus said she expects to receive about $900 a month. Medicare will deduct $121.80 for the Part B premium, leaving a net Social Security benefit of $778 a month, or an annual Social Security benefit of $9338.
What is the gap between twice the poverty guideline and what a low-wage AU worker can expect from Social Security?
3. $23,760-$9,338=$14,422 a year or $1,202 a month.
What would the monthly cost be to American University of supplementing 15 workers over 65 with over 35 years of work at AU each?
4. $1,202*15 workers=$18,030 a month
What is this amount as a percentage of AU’s monthly spending?
With a total FY2017 annual budget of $610,000,000, the University spends $50,833,333 a month. The emergency supplement of $18,030 a month would amount to (0.000355) less than four thousandths of one percent of the monthly budget. (This amount is now out of date. With the University’s new budget of over $800,000,000 a year, the amount for all the elderly workers would be less than three thousandths of one percent of the University’s monthly budget.)
Where could American University find this sum without influencing tuition?
We recommend a 10% reduction in the salaries of University Vice-Presidents or a 4% reduction in the salaries of the twelve highest paid officers of the University to fund this pension supplement. See the IRS 990 form online for the salaries of these officers. Either reduction would entirely fund the pension supplements.
One of the Great Coverups in the History of Higher Education: American University Loses $91 Million; Georgetown University Suffers $150 Million Loss in Credit Swap Deals
In one gamble that failed in 2008, the Board of Trustees of American University lost an amount equal to about a quarter of the American University’s endowment at the time.
Did they inform the students? No. Did they tell the faculty? No. Did they tell the tuition paying and loan borrowing parents? No. AU lost $91 million in a bet on interest rates and still faces additional losses of $76 million according to a report from the Roosevelt Institute and AU’s financial documents. The bet is technically a credit swap agreement with a bank, or a bet on the direction of interest rates. AU bet interest rates would rise; rates have stayed low for years. As the Roosevelt Institute report below shows, AU was at the mercy of the bankers on its own Board of Trustees:
“American is also a good example of the powerful role that bankers often play at colleges and universities. Several members of the finance industry sit on American’s board, including high-level people at Goldman Sachs and
JPMorgan Chase. Some of these same financial companies are involved in American’s swap deals, as bond underwriters and/or swap counterparties.
For example, a high-level executive at Bank of America sat on the
board during the period that American entered into its two toxic swaps with Bank of America.” (see page 18 and page 23.)
Did University administrators talk about new financial safeguards in an email to students, parents and faculty? No. Did they institute new financial safeguards so a similar loss would never happen again? No. Or did administrators cover it up? Yes.
Please download the report at this link:
We appreciate the permission of the Roosevelt Institute to share this report with the community at American University rather than the normal method of purchasing the report through Sribd at the Roosevelt Institute web site.
If university administrators decide to love and respect others, they might look at how Franklin and Marshall College has decided to treat its cleaners. They are now equal to administrators and faculty in terms of all benefits including free college degrees which could transform families for generations. And F and M will pay tuition at a community college for workers or children of workers without the skills to start at Franklin and Marshall. See https://www.fandm.edu/teamclean .
The University alleged that it could not afford to subsidize a student newspaper in 2013. The print edition was cut from being a weekly to two print editions a semester. The issue was money, they said. Really. An organization with a budget of over $600 million could not afford to provide $50,000 to keep the campus newspaper running. How many journalists out there began their careers at the college newspaper? How many stories about inflated budgets made university administrators uncomfortable over the years?
But now, AU administrators are much more comfortable. Students won’t see headlines about tuition increases in newspapers in the lobbies of their residence halls. Instead they will have to go online and search the Eagle for information. Would the Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal have as much influence if they only existed online?
Today’s online Eagle has a fraction of the influence it had as a weekly print publication. See this link for details about the demise of the Eagle.
At a school that sells so many courses on politics, you might think that American University would encourage students to post their political opinions on campus. But this is not the case. A student who attaches a flyer to a bulletin board in the Mary Graydon Center, or tapes or tacks a flyer to a tree will see it removed in less than an hour in most cases. The university does not have a single kiosk like the one below where students’ opinions can be seen.
2018. The Pension Crisis. See “Retiring Injustice, AU’s Involvement in the Workers’ Pension Problem” by Savanna Strott from the AWOL Magazine Spring 2018, Issue 023 at http://campuscoverups.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Retirement.pdf
DC Universities Continue to Exclude Service Workers from Classes. GU, GWU, Howard and UDC, You Should Be Ashamed. A Survey of Educational Benefits for Service Workers in the District of Columbia
A slightly longer version of this survey was included in the American Friends Service Committee report on Human Rights in 2017. See pages 19-22 at https://www.afsc.org/sites/default/files/documents/HR%20City%20Report_2017_FINAL.pdf
Retiring Injustice, AU’s Involvement in the Workers’ Pension Problem by Savanna Strott from the AWOL Magazine Spring 2018, Issue 023. Please see http://campuscoverups.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Retirement.pdf