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Georgia Regents Approve Controversial Tenure Policy Changes

October 14, 2021
 
 

The Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia approved a new posttenure review policy Wednesday without discussion, despite statewide faculty opposition to the plan. The board’s academic affairs committee approved the changes Tuesday during the first day of the two-day regents’ meeting, prior to the full board’s approval. Faculty members from across the 26-institution system had urged the board to change course, warning that the changes -- which decouple posttenure review from existing dismissal policies and their due process protections, and which add “student success” to the criteria by which faculty members are evaluated -- will hurt academic freedom and the system’s reputation. The university system made some changes to the policy proposal before the board approved the final language, but faculty members said those updates were mostly superficial.

The national office of the American Association of University Professors has committed to investigating the system for adopting the new policy. The changes “almost certainly undermine academic freedom by putting into place exactly what the AAUP warned against” in its “Post-Tenure Review: An AAUP Response” report, the AAUP said in a statement, “a system that will ‘shift the burden of proof from an institution’s administration (to show cause for dismissal) to the individual faculty member (to show cause why he or she should be retained).’”

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education previously cautioned members of the Georgia board against adopting the new policy. FIRE said Wednesday that the group would be closely watching the board’s adoption of the new policy.

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