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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Former Provost received over $300k in severance

Published: January 21, 2005
Section: News

Former Provost Mel Bernstein, who left Brandeis after a sudden falling out with the University, received $335,363 in employee benefits during his only year at Brandeis, according to the Universitys 2002-2003 tax forms recently obtained by The Hoot. This amount, over $300,000 more than the next non-officer staff member, includes costs allowed in severance agreement, the tax return says.

Bernstein, currently employed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as Director of University Services did not return The Hoots request for comment sent to his DHS e-mail account earlier in the week.

John Hose, Executive Assistant to the President, told The Hoot that he was not involved in the decision regarding the severance of Bernstein and that since the University never comments on the details of personnel matters, even the person or persons who directly involved will not and cannot discuss it with The Hoot. The Hoot was unable to ascertain who was responsible for the severance.

Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Jean Eddy also told The Hoot that personnel matters are not discussed publicly.

Compared to Bernstein, then Interim Provost and current Provost Marty Krauss earned $152,703 in salary, $22,522 in contributions to employee benefit plans and deferred compensation and $40,796 in expense account and other allowances. University President Jehuda Reinharz earned $341,917 in salary, $143,434 in benefit plans and deferred compensation and $58,826 in expense account and other allowances.

Bernstein, whose resignation, effective Feb. 3, 2003, was announced unexpectedly on Jan. 31, 2003 through an e-mail sent by Reinharz, became Provost on Aug. 1, 2001 following many years serving as Vice President of Arts, Sciences and Engineering at Tufts University. At the time of his departure he was halfway through his second year of a five year contract.

After much reflection, Dr. Bernstein has decided that his academic vision and goals are better suited to a different institution, and that both he and Brandeis University would be best served by his departure, Reinharz wrote in the announcement to the entire community.

Reinharz also then told the community that Bernstein will assume the status of Senior Vice President for Academic and Research Policy and Professor of Chemistry for the remainder of the spring semester.

In that capacity, he will provide consulting services to the University, Reinharz said.
However, at that time in a Feb. 4, 2003 article titled Provost Bernstein Steps Down, the Justice reported that it was unclear exactly what those consulting services will be, according to administrators.

They also reported that while Bernstein will retain the title Professor of Chemistry, Chemistry Department Chair Prof. Thomas Pochapsky said that he is not actively doing research in our department. Bernstein never taught a Chemistry course during his term at Brandeis.

In a subsequent Feb. 18, 2003 article titled Interim Provost Named, the Justice reported that Bernstein no longer has an office on campus and that Krauss said she did not know what sort of arrangements had been made for Bernstein to provide the consulting services for the University, as discussed in Reinharzs e-mail.

Following Reinharzs announcement, numerous faculty and staff reported that Bernsteins announcement had come as a surprise to them. Bernstein never spoke publicly about his departure and no other information is known.

Krauss was named Interim provost on Feb. 18, 2003 and was confirmed by the Board of Trustees on May 15, 2003.

Bernstein joined the Office of Research and Development in the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security on Jun. 1, 2003. His biography briefly listed on the University of Southern Californias Center for Homeland Security web site said that at the time of his appointment to DHS, he was at Tufts University, where he was a Research Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Previously, he has served as Professor and Head of the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Science at Carnegie-Mellon University, Provost and then Chancellor at the Illinois Institute of Technology and Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculties at Tufts University.

According to the web site University Programs has named the first class of Scholars and Fellows, 100 in total, and has established the first DHS Center of Excellence at the University of Southern California, in the area of risk analysis related to the economic consequences of terrorism. It is anticipated that over the next year up to 6 more Centers will be established in high priority areas and educational programs will be extended.