On October 14th, the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia voted to adopt a post-tenure review policy that allows tenured faculty to be fired without due process. It also evaluates faculty by an undefined metric of “student success,” and in dismissal cases, shifts the burden of proof from the administration to the individual. In response, the members of AFT Academics condemn this attack and emphasize our foundational belief that all academic workers deserve security, academic freedom, and fair working conditions. Tenure is one fundamental safeguard of these rights, and helps ensure that faculty can openly pursue evidence-based research unencumbered by pressure and expectation from corporate, religious, and political entities with predetermined agendas. This research produces findings that expand our intellectual landscape, fosters innovation, and supports the quality of education students receive. 

By passing this policy despite widespread faculty opposition, the Board has deliberately unhinged due process from post-tenure review, and placed academic freedom in grave peril. As the AAUP’s statement puts it: “At reputable institutions of higher education, academic freedom is protected because tenured professors can be dismissed only for reasons related to professional fitness and only after a hearing before a faculty body at which the administration must make its case that the faculty member’s conduct or performance warrants dismissal.”

Removing this process from faculty oversight and granting it instead to an external board of politically appointed non-academics will undermine evidenced-based research, quality education, and academic integrity. It places faculty in the precarious position of serving the interests of the Board, rather than the common good. 

We stand proudly in solidarity with the faculty of the 25 tenure-granting colleges and universities within the University System of Georgia, and view the actions of its Board of Regents as a serious threat toward the censure of all academic institutions and their permanent faculty across the country. The decision has already been widely protested by Georgia faculty, and the AAUP has launched an official investigation into the University System. The members of AFT Academics strongly support these actions and remind administrations everywhere that an injury to one is an injury to all.