Letter to the Editor: Seeking answers on the Berger settlement

Courtesy | GVSU

Courtesy | GVSU

John Kilbourne, Professor of Movement Science, GVSU

Dear Editor:

Mlive is reporting that Grand Valley State University will pay former football offensive coordinator Morris Berger a lump sum of $90,000 to walk away from the university. This is following his comments about Adolph Hitler in an interview with the Lanthorn newspaper.

I told several of my faculty colleagues at the university that it would be only time before we uncovered what the payout was. Former coach Berger will walk away with $90,000 after ten days of work and embarrassing Grand Valley State University and the GVSU family in manners that are difficult to put into words. Family and colleagues from across the nation and as far away as Scandinavia have asked me, “What is going on at GVSU?”

To put the amount Mr. Berger was paid into perspective, one can juxtapose these funds to the amount my wife makes as a dedicated, long-serving and hardworking adjunct professor at the university. She would need to teach twenty-eight (28) classes to earn $90,000, and with zero benefits. Typically, she teaches one to two classes per semester. Teaching two classes per semester, she would need to work seven (7) years to earn the amount GVSU paid a former assistant football coach for ten days of work.

I will find it difficult to share this news with my wife. It is yet another example of the priorities of the university when it comes to our adjunct faculty. Thirty percent of the faculty at GVSU are adjunct, they teach fifty percent of the courses and sixty-eight percent of first year classes.

I look forward to an explanation from those who made the decision to pay Mr. Berger $90,000, due in a lump sum no later than Feb. 15, as to this: Why? I do not think I am alone in my hope for answers.