Going Out in Style: Texas A&M President Loftin’s Multi-million Dollar Transition Requirements

Campus News       August 23, 2013 6:39 PMBy:        0 comments

It’s the document Texas A&M University President Dr. Bowen Loftin never wanted you to see: The document containing over a dozen demands that, if approved, would have had a price tag of at least $2.5 million over the next three years, including $2,000,000 in compensation for Loftin.

“I would suggest that you delete the attachment once you have read it and provided back to me any guidance you may have.  Thanks, Bowen,” Loftin wrote in an email sent on July 3, 2013 to TAMU Provost Karan Watson and TAMU CFO B.J. Crain.

Deleting emails and computer files is a technique sometimes practiced by university employees to avoid transparency through the Texas Public Information Act.

Ironically, it was Loftin who failed to “delete the attachment.”

It’s what some students described as a “dream deal.”  In the “Deal Points” document, Loftin demanded numerous terms as part of his agreement to resign from the president post in January 2014:

  • “Granting of a one-year development leave at the current compensation that I receive”
  • “Upon my retirement as President payment of an amount equal to twice my annual compensation”
  • “Continuation at my current salary during my service as a full-time faculty member at Texas A&M University”
  • “Two long academic semesters will be scheduled with no formal teaching assignments.”

“I set forth the basic terms of that I would require upon my retirement as President and my return to the faculty,” Loftin wrote.

“I believe it is pretty excessive,” said Matt McNairy, a junior history major.  “He is like a politician who gains a lot of money but doesn’t do anything for his constituents.”

The Aggie Guardian received Loftin’s “Deal Points” document at 5:30 pm on Thursday, August 22, 2013 in response to a Texas Public Information Act request filed on July 12, 2013.  (Click here to view the complete document of Loftin’s Deal Points.)

Not all of Loftin’s demands made it into the final transition agreement, which was signed by Loftin and Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. The Aggie Guardian obtained a copy of the final transition agreement on Friday afternoon (after numerous emails and phone calls to university officials).  Click here to see the final agreement.

Notably, Loftin will receive a $850,000 sum by the end of August as part of the final agreement.  Though his promised salary of at least $310,500 is less than the $425,000 salary he was pulling for, the salary is still much higher than the compensation received by most tenured professors at Texas A&M.  Loftin was not granted a year of paid development leave in the final agreement.  However, he will be able to keep his university iPad, laptop, docking stations, keyboards, and monitors.

Junior political science major Taylor Hartmann, who said Loftin’s terms are “ridiculous,” contrasted Loftin’s deal with the faculty reductions that occurred in 2010 under Loftin’s watch.

“I think if he is going to be an engineering professor, I think he should be paid the same as the rest of them.” Hartmann said. “He laid those people off and meanwhile he is getting a huge raise.”

After his resignation, President Loftin will create and direct an Institute for Advanced Modeling and Simulation (IAMS), which is to be housed within the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.

In his “deal points,” Loftin explained his vision for the new institute.  “IAMS would be among a very few such institutes/centers in the nation and bring the unique strengths of the TAMUS to bear on countering some of the greatest threats to our state and nation. My own background, extensive professional network, and expertise in this area would bring credibility to the new institute and open doors to funding agencies immediately.”

Per the final transition agreement, Loftin will have access to $50,000 per year for three years for “carrying out his duties as a Professor of the University.” Additionally, he will have two annual $50,000 stipends for the startup of modeling and simulation institute.

Loftin’s “Deal Points” terms vs. the final agreement.

Loftin’s “Deal Points” Terms

Loftin’s Final Transition Agreement Terms

Development leave for one year at current President salary ($425,000)
Payment of an amount equal to twice the annual compensation (comprised of the amount shown in Loftin’s total annual compensation statement for FY14 plus deferred compensation and the fair value of housing and custodial services) ($850,000++) Payment of twice annual salary upon executing transition agreement.  ($850,000)
Resume service as tenured professor in the Dwight Look College of Engineering Resume service as tenured professor in the Dwight Look College of Engineering
Salary of at least Loftin’s current president’s salary during service as full time faculty member at TAMU ($425,000+) Salary of $215,500 for faculty appointment and $95,000 for administrative appointment  ($310,500+)
Startup funds for renovation of office and laboratory space, funds for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, equipment, software, research materials, travel, etc. Startup funds for IAMS ($50,000+ for two years) and departmental budget ($50,000 for three years)  ($250,000+)
Two long academic semesters scheduled with no formal teaching assignments Commencing one year (i.e., two long semesters) after the date Loftin resumes his service as tenured Professor, Loftin agrees to carry a teaching and research workload comparable to and customary with others in the Department
President Emeritus designation President Emeritus designation
Serve until the beginning of the fiscal year following resignation as “Special Advisor to the…” to “advise on certain “in progress” projects Serve as Special Advisor to the Provost to “assist and advise on special projects and strategic matters” until the fall 2014 semester at a salary of $25,875 per month. (~ $180,000)
Reimbursement for legal and accounting advice Reimbursement of legal fees and tax advice up to $25,000
Option to have vacation leave accumulated paid out at time of retirement as President
All non-vested and outstanding deferred compensation awards Payment of Sept 2013 deferred compensation awards as well as two other deferred awards in the future
Leave of absence for employment by another government agency or nonprofit but retain tenure and retains terms upon return Leave of absence of no more than two years (at a time) for employment by a federal agency or nonprofit but retain tenure and retains terms of transition agreement upon return
Payment of moving and/or storage of personal property for up to two separate moves Pay for up to twelve months actual and reasonable expenses to remove, store, and relocated personal furnishings and personal items
Moving and/or storage of professional library, records, and other items from Office of President for up to two moves Move items located at the Office of the President including records, personal items, and university bookcases
Keep university iPad, laptop, docking stations, keyboards, and monitors

 

Students also speculated about Loftin’s future.  It has been widely reported that Loftin is resigning to spend more time with students.  However, he will not return to teaching for at least two more years; instead he is taking a “Special Advisor” administrative job until Fall 2014 and then two more “long semesters” off from teaching.  Loftin has the option to take advantage of a two year leave of absence to work for another government agency or a non-profit, which would delay his teaching even further.

Loftin informs student senators about his strategic initiatives policy in 2010.

Loftin informs student senators about his strategic initiatives policy in 2010.

Had Loftin’s one-year paid development leave been approved in the final agreement, teaching could have been delayed until at least the fall 2018 semester.

“I think it is his way to try to look good, saying it is all about the students, but in reality it is him being selfish,” Hartmann said.

The released documents provide additional hints about Loftin’s future.  Per the transition agreement, Loftin can take a leave of absence to work for a federal agency or a non-profit organization.  He gives the “Institute for Defense Analysis” and the “Center for Naval Analysis” as examples of such non-profit organizations.

Additionally, Loftin’s administration is “working on building a substantial long term relationship with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).”  University records obtained by The AG reveal that Loftin wants to bring the Director of the DIA Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to College Station for a campus visit and football game.

Loftin’s transition agreement process was less tense than the last presidential resignation.  When Dr. Elsa Murano resigned in June 2009, campus was divided and some were calling for legal challenges against the university system.

Although Loftin likely used Murano’s transition agreement as a template for his “Deal Points,” Loftin walked away with the best compensation deal of the two.

Murano’s Transition Agreement

Loftin’s Transition Agreement

Development leave for one year at present salary as President ($425,000)
Payment of $295,000 Payment of twice annual salary upon executing transition agreement ($850,000)
Resume service as tenured Professor in the Nutrition and Food Science Department Resume service as tenured professor in the Dwight Look College of Engineering
$260,000 salary as a professor once returning from development leave Salary of $215,500 for faculty appointment and $95,000 for administrative appointment ($310,500+)
Departmental budget of $100,000 per year for four years ($400,000) Startup funds for IAMS ($50,000+ for two years) and departmental budget ($50,000 for three years).  ($250,000+)
Agrees to carry a teaching and research workload comparable to others in the Department Commencing one year (i.e., two long semesters) after the date Loftin resumes his service as tenured Professor, Loftin agrees to carry a teaching and research workload comparable to and customary with others in the Department
President Emeritus designation President Emeritus designation
Serve as Special Advisor to the Provost to “assist and advise on special projects and strategic matters” until the fall 2014 semester at a salary of $25,875 per month (~ $180,000)
Reimbursement of legal and accounting fees up to $25,000 Reimbursement of legal fees and tax advice up to $25,000
Payment of Sept 2013 deferred compensation awards as well as two other deferred awards in the future
Leave of absence of no more than two years (at a time) for employment by a federal agency or nonprofit but retain tenure and retains terms of transition agreement upon return
Pay for up to twelve months actual and reasonable expenses to remove, store, and relocated personal furnishings and personal items
Move items located at the Office of the President including records, personal items, and university bookcases
Keep university iPad, laptop, docking stations, keyboards, and monitors

 

Texas A&M University spokesman Shane Hinckley refused to comment on the transition agreement; instead, he referred The Aggie Guardian to file an open records request or to contact the Texas A&M System office for more information.

The Aggie Guardian attempted to reach Loftin for comment by phone and by email. Loftin had not responded by time of publishing; however, The AG will update this story if he provides comments.

Attached documents:

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