SUBJECT: Memo's From Mike Berliner and Ed Locke Concerning Faculty Salaries at the Objectivist Graduate Center
FROM: Edith Packer
TO: Mike Berliner, Harry Binswanger, Peter Schwartz, and All Members of the ARI Board of Advisors
Besides agreeing with everything included in George's memo to all of you yesterday, I have some additional concerns.
In the past, I voiced my concern about the possible illegality of a Director being involved in offering his services to ARI, or, for that matter, holding a conference (even through a corporation that was nominally owned by his spouse). My concern was dismissed with the implication that I was "looking for trouble." Now, in the process of getting information about university salaries, Prof. Jerry Kirkpatrick, whom I consulted, has discovered the applicable law, which requires "51% of the board of a public benefit corporation cannot receive any money for services rendered the corporation in any other capacity (e.g., officer, full- or part-time employee, independent contractor) or be related by blood or marriage to such a paid person..." (Prof. Kirkpatrick will be sending you the full relevant text.) This has to be checked out by attorneys, of course. But, if it is true, it puts the proposed Objectivist Graduate Center in danger. What if a reporter looks into this and discovers it? ARI might lose its tax-exempt status. This kind of thing should have been thoroughly checked out before starting such an important project. Fortunately, it seems that the problem can be corrected by enlarging the Board.
I also have questions as to whether any compensation should include the additional amounts requested for expenses. If the standard is what universities pay, then it should be realized that no university pays for such expenses.
I also have some questions as to Peter Schwartz teaching writing. I believe that he is qualified to teach techniques in writing. However, techniques are taught in a context involving the teacher's knowledge of other fields, like philosophy, economics, and psychology. Speaking only for psychology and only for myself, my concern is that Peter will offer misinformation concerning psychology, in view of his recently having given a public lecture on the subject and his announced intention to deliver more such lectures in the future. Most people, knowing that he is on the Board of Directors of ARI, mistakenly assume that his ideas on psychology are approved of by other Objectivist psychologists. To the best of my knowledge, he has not checked out his ideas on psychology with any psychologist or psychiatrist, Objectivist or otherwise. I want to go on record that I do not think he is qualified to say anything about the subject of psychology, and should definitely not accept payment for doing so, especially when the payment is made possible only by virtue of his affiliation with ARI. George tells me that he has similar special reservations about Peter lecturing on economics.