May 9, 2008

Dear Brady, I attended the faculty meeting yesterday afternoon and felt that faculty, administrators, and a very brave student commented on many important issues concerning Compete Missouri. One point that was not clearly made, but that underlies many of the comments, is the fact that no matter what salary funds are generated through various sources, it is most critical that the funds reach the faculty in a fair and equitable manner. It is not sufficient to simply say that the funds will be distributed in the usual manner through the merit system. A reason for this (especially in the Mathematics Department) is that due to the lack of accountability, autocratic chairs have instituted patronage reward systems that are not only unethical, but obstruct the overall objectives of attaining competitive salaries for ALL hardworking MU faculty. Cronyism not only affects salary raises but also impacts promotions, counteroffers, internal university recognitions, teaching assignments, etc. If Compete Missouri (or any other plan to improve salary levels for MU faculty and staff) is to fulfill its goals, it is quintessential that the upper administration devises transparent and accountable distribution plans with serious checks and balances.

To simply raise the funds for improving salaries, and then naively assume that they will be distributed without favoritism or discrimination through the usual merit system manner, is fine if the system were not flawed. However, many know that this is not the case. History has repeatedly shown that without vigilant checks and balances, the best-intentioned plans to improve the quality of life will often be superseded by greed and corruption (e.g., recall the well known "oil-for-food" fraud perpetrated by the Sadaam Hussein regime).

Best regards, Ira

Ira J. Papick
Professor of Mathematics
Curators' Teaching Professor
Department of Mathematics
University of Missouri
Columbia, Missouri 65211
Office phone: 573-882-7573
Home phone: 573-445-7466
Department Fax: 573-882-1869
Web site: