After 1993, college and university professors will have an almost unlimited lease on the ivory tower. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA or the Act) has been "uncapped" to protect workers above 70 from discrimination based on age. While an exception to this coverage now allows the mandatory retirement of tenured faculty at age 70, the Act will begin to prohibit such compulsory retirement of tenured faculty after 1993. Older faculty members who do not retire may then create a logjam at the top of the faculty hierarchy, causing significant financial and structural problems for colleges and universities. Without mandatory retirement, a large group of minimally active, but highly compensated, older faculty may strain institutional resources, inhibit the prospects of women and minorities for employment and advancement, and even threaten academic quality if incompetent or nonperforming faculty members become too difficult to remove. Since any change in a tenure system takes years to reach its full effect, colleges and universities must plan now for the ADEA-induced retention of post- 70-year-old tenured faculty.

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