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Board of Regents approves concerning tenure policy

The Georgia Board of Regents approves tenure policy changes as of Oct. 13 that may hinder leaving professors and tenure associates voice out against these changes that will affect Georgia universities.

The new tenure policy changes made Oct. 13 by the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia have professors in an uproar and concerned for Georgia’s future of academic success.

Academic tenure provides job security to professors and guarantees a university will not terminate them, except in the most extreme of circumstances.

This safeguard ensures the professor’s academic freedom and liberty to teach lectures how they see best fit for students.

At the board of regents Oct. 12 meeting, the board approved a proposal that gives administrators the power to terminate professors who fail to meet the requirements of the improvement plans given to them by department chairs and deans.

Proponents of the new proposal said that the intended goal for the changes are to support career development for faculty as well as ensure accountability and continued strong performance levels after faculty members have achieved tenure.

As of Nov. 4, a total of 1,519 professors from universities across Georgia signed a petition requesting that the board of regents modify the new changes made.

“The tenure policy changes are the board of regents’ attempt to intimidate and dissuade social justice faculty who educate hundreds of thousands of Georgia voters,” Tom Hochschild, a professor of psychology, anthropology and criminal justice, said. “I am very concerned the USG’s tenure policy changes will absolutely hurt the USG’s chances of attracting top teachers and researchers.”
Hochschild said the changes are political.

“Gov. Kemp and his board of regents that they care little about higher education and are more concerned about scoring political points,” he said.

Professors statewide, committee chairs and public officials have objected to the changes out of concern for future student success and the hindrance to professor’s academic freedom.

“Academic freedom guaranteed by tenure is more than a hiring gimmick,” said former member of the Georgia House of Representatives Stacey Abrams on Twitter. “Georgia cannot compete for talent or produce innovation if we undermine our public universities. Let’s not destroy intellectual capacity.”

Irene Mulvey, president of the American Association of University Professors, said the new policy will contradict the meaning of tenure.

“Georgia is a huge outlier now,” she said. “There should be a new word for it in Georgia, because tenure will not mean tenure there.”

Story by Imani Washington, staff writer.

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