Does Catbert Work at Clark-Atlanta University?

Fans of Scott Adams’ comic “Dilbert” know Catbert as the Evil Director of Human Resources, who takes pleasure in torturing employees through sadistic and nonsensical policies and whose chief delight is “downsizing”. Not only has CAU fired nearly a third of its faculty without due process and no notice (see my earlier blog entries describing what happened to my wife and the AAUP’s letter to CAU President Carlton Brown), but it continues to toy with them even after firing them.
The first issue that came up is that my wife and many of the other fired faculty have their 9-month salaries distributed over 12 months. Therefore, CAU owed these faculty the money that they had already earned, that had been deferred for payment over the summer months. CAU did acknowledge this issue, and promised to pay a lump sum to each of these affected faculty.
In my wife’s case, in checking the figures that CAU provided, she discovered that CAU was calculating her payment based on last year’s salary, not this current year’s salary that was in her annual contract she signed last summer. Indeed, a quick check of her direct deposit records revealed that CAU had never instituted the promised salary increase for her for the current academic year. As far as she knows, CAU has not announced that salary increases had been rolled back, and other faculty appear to have received their pay increases. CAU has not yet responded to her emails pointing out this discrepancy.
Then when she did get her lump-sum payment, not only was it incorrectly based on last year’s salary, but CAU had withheld a far higher percentage of her pay for taxes than usual. People who have been laid off had extra taxes withheld from their last CAU paycheck, as if their income had suddenly doubled. This doesn’t save CAU any money, it only hurts the laid off people, who can’t get the money back until they file tax returns NEXT YEAR.
These matters are small potatoes compared to the mass firing of tenured and tenure-track faculty. Still, I have to wonder, is CAU run by incompetents, or has Catbert taken over?


About jchoigt

I'm an Associate Professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech, and Faculty Coordinator of the Professional MS Bioinformatics degree program.
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