Numbers play an important role in our lives, and whether you believe in numerology or find significance in mathematical coincidences, the number ‘666’ has always brought a strong response in people. Therefore, was a law school trying to make a point or specific statement when they issued merit pay raises to some of their law professors in the amount of ‘666?’ Some say yes, and are taking the amount very seriously – accusing the school’s dean of deliberating choosing this amount to make a hidden point.
‘666’ is a number that makes many people cringe. Not only are the digits known as the ‘Mark of the Beast’ and is often used to make Satanic references, but it simply makes you think of the Devil and is extremely offensive to someone who is religious.
Law professors employed at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law have reason to believe that the schools’ dean, Craig Boise, has used a number associated with the Antichrist to make a point regarding their unionizing activities. The professors were due to receive merit pay raises that fell into one of four waves of payments: $5,000, $3,000, $666, and $0, and have found the inclusion of ‘666’ as a payment possibility as a deliberate attempt to launch a jab at the professors, as they claim that they were all given $0 or $666 – despite what they perceived as having ‘excellent scholarship and other “merit” factors, such as student evaluations and overall service.
A memo that was distributed to the central administration was copied and sent to the entire faculty contains allegations by one of the eight AAUP organizers, which states: “[The $666 figure] is a universally understood symbol of the Antichrist or Devil — one of our culture’s most violent religious images. Implicitly, but unmistakably and obviously intentionally, [the Dean] used his powers to set faculty salaries as an occasion to brand his perceived opponents as the Antichrist.”
The university is dismissing the accusation of unfair labor practices, and chalk it up to good ol’ fashioned mathematics: “[T]he Charging Party cannot point to a single directive, or even a reference, from the Dean to a “666″ or satanic merit pay amount for certain allegedly union-active faculty members. The $666 merit award was the result of mathematical division, not anti-union animus.”
However, it does seem pretty coincidental that while all other increments of merit pay raises for 2013 and 2014 are $5,000, $3,000 and $0 – the third is one that is not rounded to the nearest one-hundredth of a dollar…and happens to represent a number well known for being associated with the Devil.
The professors filed a formal complaint in August, and have sought the assistance of two lawyers who claim that Boise retaliated against eight professors at the school. Two of the cases received no merit pay raise at all, despite showing “exemplary scholarship and teaching scores.”
This isn’t the first time that the ‘Devil’s Number’ has made it in the news for upsetting an employee. Earlier in 2013, a Contech Casting LLC employee in Tennessee actually quit his job after being repeatedly identified by the number 666 on his W-2 tax form.