But the Regents’ political interference in the USG has seemed clear since last March when some of them pushed the selection of Sonny Perdue as the next USG chancellor, although he lacks any relevant experience for the job. At the time, Gov. Brian Kemp expressed his admiration for this former Republican governor and ex-cabinet member under Trump for the position.
Again, in September after the university term had begun, there was the faculty furor over the lack of campus vaccine or mask mandates. There also were faculty demonstrations and university senates passing resolutions that their presidents be allowed to issue individual campus mandates.
But Gov. Kemp had issued an executive order banning any mask mandates in public agencies so Acting Chancellor Teresa MacCartney refused, stating that she would follow the governor’s opposition to mask and vaccine mandates at state schools.
Yet, the Policy’s Section 7.11.2 on risk management seems to allow the presidents this leeway. “The Board of Regents… will define the USG’s ability (risk tolerance) and willingness (risk appetite) to absorb the impact of certain risks. … Acceptance of risk shall not include: willful exposure of students, employees, or others to unsafe environments or activities.”
Further, it states: “The Chancellor, through…institutional presidents, shall ensure that USG risks are effectively managed; each institution president performs a similar role within his or her institution.”
And now the Regents has de facto abolished faculty tenure, making this drastic policy change by amending the section on post-tenure review. This had been a routine review every five years by department chairs and deans, with a performance-improvement plan if needed.
But now, the reviewed faculty member’s tenure may be revoked if he/she fails two consecutive post-tenure reviews and doesn’t make sufficient improvement as determined by the chair, dean, and college president. So, the previous peer-review by other faculty to revoke tenure—and thus due process-- has been eliminated.
It’s hard to express how anxious and demoralized a great many tenured faculty now feel, with some of the best looking for somewhere else to go. Will there be retaliation for their earlier demonstrations and dissent from Gov. Kemp’s orders? Is this a preparation to smooth the way for Perdue’s appointment as chancellor?
All of this seems to violate Section 6.4 above. As a professor emerita who cannot have her tenure revoked, I shout: Regents, follow your own policy.