University professors group urging Board of Regents to rescind changes to faculty tenure
Eight Southern state chapters of a national organization of university professors are asking the University System of Georgia to rescind changes in tenure policies they argue would essentially abolish the tenure system.
The system’s Board of Regents voted in October to replace a system that permits professors to be fired only for a specific cause following a peer review with a system that lets professors be dismissed if they fail to take corrective steps following two consecutive subpar reviews. “The board’s new procedure for post-tenure review exposes faculty to censorship, ideological bias and notoriously fickle criteria like student evaluations and ‘performance,’” leaders of the eight state chapters of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) wrote in a letter Wednesday to Teresa Mac-Cartney, the university system’s acting chancellor.
“When implemented, the University System of Georgia will no longer have tenure and, therefore, meaningful academic freedom will cease to exist.”
The letter went on to warn that the new policy will discourage professors from wishing to come to Georgia and motivate those already in the system to leave.
The changes in posttenure review, which will apply to all 26 of the system’s colleges and universities except Georgia Gwinnett College, emerged from the recommendations of a working group formed in September of last year.
The goal of the changes was to ensure faculty members continue to do their jobs well after they have achieved tenure, the regents wrote in a prepared statement following the October vote.
But about 1,500 professors on university system campuses signed a petition opposing the changes.
The national AAUP is conducting an investigation of the changes that could lead the group to censure the university system. A report is expected before the end of the year.
The chapters signing onto the letter represented the Southern states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Oklahoma.