I write on a subject that I know is of great importance to virtually all of us - the state pension system and efforts underway in the General Assembly to reduce or cap benefits that we have earned.
I want you to know that I share your concerns about possible changes to our pension benefits. Our current faculty and staff were hired - and have served our students, patients and the public for many years - on the understanding that these pension benefits were part of our compensation. We are not eligible for Social Security and our salaries often lag far behind those of our counterparts at private institutions of comparable quality. Our people, therefore, have built their financial planning and retirements around these pension benefits, and it is not their fault that the pensions have not been adequately funded. Accordingly, we continue to participate in discussions on this issue in Springfield and to use our good offices to the best advantage of our faculty and staff. Additionally, the Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) is organizing panel discussions to be held on each of the three campuses sometime toward the end of March.