Analytics wrote:So what is the deal with Royal Skousen? It looks like the Interpreter is simply paying him about $13,000 a quarter indefinitely for writing these books.
So what's up? Is the money going to Skousen personally? Or is to pay for research assistants, office space, supplies, miscellaneous expenses? Or is it an advance on the money Skousen is expected to make off of the book that is eventually published?
If I recall, a few years after the drama at the MI, "the Critical Text Project" moved from the MI to BYU Studies, with electronic versions of the books being published by Interpreter Foundation. Based on my not-even-casual observation of these events, I would speculate that the Interpreter agreed to pay Skousen $13,000 a quarter to conduct this research. I would guess that Skousen's salary at BYU had been about $104,000 a year, and that 50% of his work responsibilities consisted of this research.
It would then follow that BYU (through BYU Studies) is allowing Interpreter to have the prestige (and revenue) of being the electronic publisher of these books in exchange for Interpreter picking up 50% of Skousen's salary (i.e. $52,000 a year, or $13,000 a quarter).
Am I in the right direction here? Why did BYU agree to this? Were they about to cut the funding on Skousen because they don't think it is worth it? Or do they appreciate his work, but are glad to let somebody else pick up the tab?
Unfortunately, there’s little transparency here. For the record, I will quote a passage from Dr. Peterson’s fundraising letter back in December 2014:
[O]wing to unwelcome external circumstances, Professor Skousen’s landmark Critical Text Project suddenly needs to find a new home and (certainly by our standards) substantial funding. He has just approached The Interpreter Foundation for help. The amount required—approximately $40,000 for a year—dwarfs anything we’ve heretofore done. But this is an opportunity for Interpreter to participate in an undertaking that will benefit the Saints and the Church for generations to come. If you would like to help with this effort, donations will need to be sent to The Interpreter Foundation by check, annotated to indicate that they are earmarked for the Critical Text Project, Volume 3. Anybody who might be interested in speaking with Professor Skousen and/or with me about the current situation and the needs of the project should contact us via ....
It’s anybody’s guess how $40,000 for a year turned into $170,000+ as of mid-2018.