By TORI COOPER
ATLANTA (WGCL) — Georgia professors are protesting a controversial policy change that was just approved by The Board of Regents this week.
Professors said it will give administrators more power to terminate tenured faculty.
CBS46 spoke to Georgia professors and The American Association of University Professors about how this change could impact students and faculty across the state.
Professors we spoke to said this change essentially eliminates the concept of tenure, which gives professors academic freedom and makes it harder for them to get fired.
However, The Board of Regents and the University System of Georgia both said this change helps maintain professor performance.
“My initial reactions to the change are disappointment and embarrassment really,” Kennesaw State Conflict Management professor, Tim Hedeen said.
The Board of Regents, the body that governs 25 public colleges and Universities in Georgia, just voted to add a new layer in the tenure post review process for professors like Hedeen.
“This is really a loss for Georgia,” Hedeen said losing his tenure status would not only be a loss for professors like him, it could be a loss for students across Georgia.
“Students can only learn broadly and deeply if there’s permission to go wherever the information might lead us. To constrain tenure is to really remove the ability to ask hard questions.”
His tenure status grants him a layer of job security and allows him to conduct cutting edge research studies to integrate into society and his classroom.
Hedeen said this new policy could now change all of that.
President of The Georgia Conference of the American Association of University Professors, Mathew Boedy said, “The board of regents radically changed those policies to take away rights from professors who are workers.”
The Board of Regents said the updated policy supports career development for all faculty, ensures accountability and strong performance among seasoned professors.
“We already get reviewed every year,” Boedy said.
Boedy and The American Association of University Professors are now threatening to censure the entire university system in light of this change, that Boedy said will make it harder to recruit skilled professor to the state.
Boedy also said the policy will threaten the academic freedom for professors during the course of their research.
“They hardly ever censure systems and this is going to be a massive black eye for the University System.”
Over a thousand professors across the state have also now signed a petition against this change and they are hoping the board will now reconsider its changes to the post tenure review process.
“Because, It signals that we really don’t value innovation or creativity for the benefit of our students, part of our faculty and for the benefit of our communities frankly,” Hedeen said.
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