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William Peace University Offers Faculty Buyout

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- William Peace University in Raleigh is offering buyouts to many of its tenured faculty members.


Fifteen faculty members have been offered $30,000 each if they leave by June 30 and sign an agreement giving up tenure and any claims against the school, according to a copy of the offer obtained by The News & Observer of Raleigh ( http://bit.ly/1kSTozc ).


The agreement would also require faculty members not to say anything bad about the school after leaving. It suggests what faculty members should say if they are questioned.


"I've opted to resign as part of a Voluntary Separation Program offered by the University. I wish the best for the William Peace University community," it recommends.


The buyout offers come two months after most of the full-time faculty sent an eight-page letter to trustees with a host of complaints about university President Debra Townsley.


The complaints included faculty turnover; worsening graduation rates; unsecured student records; and buildings with inadequate heat; asbestos problems and infestations of poisonous spiders. The letter also cited a decline in full-time faculty as enrollment has grown rapidly.


Townsley would only say the offers are a personnel matter.


It's unclear whether the buyouts are related to the university's financial situation, which has been troubled in recent years. The number of full-time faculty has been cut in half in the past five years while the university hired more part-time adjunct professors.


The women's college changed its name and admitted men in the fall of 2012. Townsley and trustees said the changes were necessary for the school to remain financially viable.


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