National faculty group targets Ga. regents over tenure changes

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 12:18 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The American Association of University Professors is taking aim at a move by Georgia regents that makes it possible to fire tenured faculty without a dismissal hearing.

An October vote by University System of Georgia regents institutes a new set of job reviews for tenured professors.

All of Georgia’s public universities that grant tenure already require such reviews. But a report shows 96% of professors currently pass them with no requirement for improvement.

Under the new plan, any professor who flunks an evaluation will be required to improve performance. Any professor who refuses or doesn’t make enough progress could be fired.

Supporters say the new review process approved Wednesday aims to help professors improve.

The AAUP issued a report titled “Academic Freedom and Tenure: University System of Georgia” finding what the group calls “flagrant violations” of AAUP standards of academic governance.

“Under those standards, the USG faculty should have played a primary role in developing any changes to the system’s post-tenure review policy,” AAUP said Wednesday in a news release. “Instead, the USG administration and governing board pushed through and imposed a new faculty evaluation policy without meaningfully involving faculty and over strong objections voiced by the system’s critical faculty governance bodies.”

At its next meeting, the AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure will formulate  a recommendation on censure based on the findings in the report, the group said.

The recommendation will go to the AAUP’s Governing Council, which will vote on whether to add the USG to the association’s list of censured administrations. 

“Censure, however, is not inevitable,” AAUP said. “As always, the AAUP would welcome a resolution that honors its recommended principles and standards. In this case, such a resolution would entail the restoration of the due-process protections of tenure to the USG post-tenure review policy.”

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