Board Of Regents makes sweeping changes to tenure in Georgia. Professors aren't happy about it
The Georgia Board of Regents voted Wednesday to make sweeping changes to the state’s rules surrounding tenure for academic staff, and now some professors are crying foul.
Currently, professors can only be fired for cause after a thorough peer review process. The new rules would shorten that process and include student feedback. Professors say the changes will make it easier to let them go and curtail academic freedom.
Matthew Boedy, president of the Georgia Conference of the American Association of University Professors said the Georgia Board of Regents effectively ended tenure in Georgia.
"The Board of Regents decided to not listen to faculty, not listen to the thousands of voices of faculty members and experts around the nation — and have killed tenure today in Georgia," he said Wednesday to GPB News. "It is a brutal attack on higher education coming from the very people who claim to lead it and represent it."
GPB News reached out to the Georgia Board of Regents for comment, but did not receive a response as of time of publication.
Boedy said this move only intensifies frustrations that educators are feeling around the state, who are already unhappy with how the board has handled the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think it will just deepen the already deep frustration and anger and a cynicism in faculty with the university system," he said, "We have been mistreated and ignored and sometimes just lied to about COVID."
Former gubernatorial candidate and activist Stacey Abrams took to Twitter to voice her opinion.
Now, Boedy is worried about the long-term effects that the new policy could have on academia in Georgia, including a potential "brain drain" of educational talent.
"I think that that long-term impact will be seen in both attracting talent and attracting partnerships with universities and attracting people that want to work with ethical principles and shared governance and academic freedom," he said. "Tenure and academic freedom are tied together."
The changes in post-tenure review will apply to nearly every public college in the state. An online petition has gathered over 1,500 signatures opposing the change.