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"Graying of US academia stirs debate"



As I noted back in The Excuse Factory, one of the consequences of our age-discrimination law, specifically the prohibition on automatic-retirement policies at most workplaces, has been to entrench elderly incumbents who occupy some categories of highly desirable jobs, notably professorships at elite universities. As the lucky beneficiaries of the law continue to age in place, the controversy isn't going away:

"The aging of the faculty, caused in large part by the absence of mandatory retirement, is one of the profound problems facing the American research university," said Lawrence H. Summers , who as Harvard president pushed for the hiring and tenure of more younger scholars. "It defies belief that the best way to advance creative thought, to educate the young, or to choose the next generation of faculty members is to have a tenured faculty with more people over 70 than under 40, and over 60 than under 50."

Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which includes the undergraduate college and the doctoral programs, has 186 tenured professors age 60 or above, and 156 under age 50.

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.