The faculty senate flyer posted on a classroom building wall invited faculty to Howard University Law School this weekend to discuss a venerated institution “in peril.”

The reaction has been building over the past month since university President Sidney A. Ribeau announced a series of budget cuts. The faculty senate, in a three-page letter questioned “outrageous bonuses” to a few administrators in 2010 in excess of a total $1 million.

The letter to Ribeau and the board of trustees said the bonuses showed “blatant disregard for the University when our students and their families are struggling to pay tuition increases.”

According to The Washington Post, “The one-time payments were made to three top administrators who agreed to stay at the historically Black university for three years during a change of presidents, according to a statement from Howard. The retention agreements were signed in 2007 and matured on June 30, 2010.”

The incentives were intended, the statement said, to provide continuous senior leadership and “mitigate any potential risks for the University.”

Senior vice president Artis G. Hampshire-Cowan, who was the interim president, received $302,820 on top of her salary of $213,552. Senior vice president for strategy and government affairs Hassan Minor received $522,184 on top of his salary of $264,255. Chief legal officer Norma Leftwich received $224,050 on top of her salary of $252,930.

In the letter the Faculty Senate asked that the administration:

•Provide a written explanation to the University community of the factors that necessitated contracting the independent consultant (HU 2010 IRS 990) to generate a report on faculty, dean and staff salaries.

•Provide full written disclosure to the University community of the name, title, credentials of, and any compensation paid to the independent consultant/consulting firm that was referenced in the (HU 2010 IRS 990).

•Provide full written disclosure to the University community of the final report generated by the independent consultant (HU 2010 IRS 990) with respect to its report on faculty, deans and staff salaries.

• Provide full written disclosure to the University community of the deliberations of the Compensation Committee of the Board of Trustees that justified the bonuses for senior officers and faculty (HU 2010 IRS 990).

• Provide a written explanation to the faculty of why the University-wide Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) was not called upon to make its recommendations for strategies to alleviate the current budget shortfall.

• Revoke any consideration and/or actions concerning furloughs for the Faculty.