Today @BORUSG is going to effectively end tenure for all public colleges and universities in Georgia, including my own @universityofga

Let me try to explain what tenure is and why it is important to how academia works. 🧵
1. Let me start by saying that I will not make a moral argument for tenure. Clearly, I support it, and think it is crucial for academia, but there is a moral question why some people have ob security and others do not (particularly in US context).
2. In the simplest terms, tenure means job protection. It means you have a "job for life" barring exceptional circumstances -- such as, your university/department goes bankrupt, you are involved in (serious) criminal activities.
3. It is meant to protect academic freedom, i.e. to ensure that academics can research whatever they want and come to whatever conclusion science leads them to. Even if it upsets power people, like @GovKemp and @BORUSG
4. Without this protection, any research that could challenge the status quo, and thus the 'establishment', would be risky for academics.
5. Not to risk your job, academics would stay away from these topics, which mean that major scientific breakthroughs in pretty much all fields wo;; be less likely (as they upset the status quo and cost powerful people influence and money).
6. Many people, both insider and outside of academia, (seem to) think that it is particularly outspoken left-wing Humanities & Social Sciences profs that are at risk, as they are most visible in political debate -- the so-called "cultural Marxists".
7. This stereotype is one of the reasons, I think, why (right-wing) public opinion is increasingly hostile to academia and tenure.

That and the famous "deadwood", tenured professors who do nothing but get handsomely paid until they die.
8. Regarding the latter, no one denies deadwood exists in academia. As they do elsewhere. But I have not seen any serious studies of the extent of this problem, at universities in Georgia or more broadly. It is simply assumed/asserted to be a big problem!
9. So, who is really pressured by powerful external interests? We don't know too much about it, as only a small part is reported -- and there is probably a bias in who reports, making it not very representative.
10. There are, of course, several cases where outspoken Humanities and Social Sciences professors with strong left-wing AND right-wing have been threatened with termination. In some cases they actually have been fired.
11. Important note: tenure does not mean you cannot be fired. Everyone can be fired. It merely means you have a good legal case to challenge your dismissal and win a financial settlement (or reinstatement, but that would be in a hostile work environment).
12. Going back to who is targeted. People who threaten powerful interests! And they often work in the sciences. For instance, scholars of climate change have been harassed and threatened for years.
13. Also, threats do not just come from politicians, they come from donors -- which are businesses and rich individuals/foundations.
14. As public financing of academia has plummeted in the last decades, universities (also public ones) have become more and more dependent upon private donors. And financial dependence creates power inequalities, which threaten "problematic" academics.
15. Ok, you might say, but the vast majority of academics never get targeted by donors or politicians. True. They don't. So, why would tenure be a bog deal for them? Good question!
16. In countries with little job security, like the US, tenure provides a unique level of security, which compensates for a lot of other things, including (significantly) lower salaries than in the private sector.
17. Without tenure, academia mainly offers more "vacation" -- again, mainly in the US, but there most professionals don't value vacation very much, leaving aside that most academics work during the "vacation period" (yes, really).
18. In many disciplines (from biology to economics) people can earn (far) more money outside of academia. Most academics don't value money over freedom. But if your freedom is no longer protected, the cost-benefit analysis changes.
19. Even in the Humanities and Social Sciences many academics can earn more outside of academia, from public sector jobs to NGOs and think tanks.
20. To be clear, @BORUSG is not going to abolish tenure de jure. More de facto. In other words, tenure still exists on paper, but can be taken away at the behest of the BOR. Most academics will not trust the BOR.
21. So, what will happen?

Georgia universities will have a hard time to attract and maintain academics who have alternatives (academic and non-academic).

To be clear, given how terrible the (academic) job market is, this applies to only minority at the moment.
22. We will see more (junior) academics leave academia, more (productive) senior academics retire early, and more academics leave Georgia's public universities for private universities and public universities outside of Georgia (red states).
23. Many of the people that leave, academia or just Georgia, will be among the more "successful" ones, as that makes them "marketable" -- I don't take a position here on whether "success" is measured correctly.
24. They will be replaced by less "successful" academics. Will they be bad? No. But they will be less "successful" according to the standards set by disciplines, magazines, etc.
25. If anything, this will lead to two very tangible things:

- drop in ranking of Georgia public universities
- drop in research funding that Georgia public universities attract
26. Sadly, for academics who try to fight politicians, these things don't concern most voters -- even if the latter could significantly effect rural communities, who profit significantly from economic effects of UGA research.
27. Obviously, what happens in Georgia is not an isolated case. If (when) BOR de fact abolishes tenure successfully, other red states will follow suit (Mississippi is already on it). It plays well to both the elites and masses of the GOP.
28. In short, this is very important, and will further strengthen the red-blue state divides, economically and politically. But it will not be perceived as important by the vast majority of people in Georgia or the US. Which is why we were never going to win this fight.
29. Although these actions come from @BORUSG , by direct order of @GovKemp , most university administrations have done little to nothing to stop it and let faculty know they care. Another reason why many faculty will want to leave.
30. As for myself, I know this decision is bad for someone like me. Like most of my colleagues, between this and COVID-19 non-policies, I am well done with UGA and BORUSG. But I also love ATH and (masked) SPIA students. Leaving has definitely become an option. #TheEnd

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Cas Mudde 😷

Cas Mudde 😷 Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @CasMudde

24 Sep
Today is Mark Rutte’s 4000th day as @MinPres of the Netherlands. 🇳🇱

A thread on his achievements for Dutch liberal democracy. 🧵
1. As junior minister, Rutte was convicted for discriminating on the basis of ethnicity.
2. In his first run as VVD leader, he got fewer preferential votes than #2 (Rita Verdonk),

This was the first time in Dutch history that a arty leader did not get the most preferential votes of his party.
Read 11 tweets
13 Aug
It's time again. Some movie tips, mostly from Netflix US. I've got 20 movies and series, so ignore the next 20 Tweets if you are not into movies (or think I have shite taste 😄). Here are four of the best. 🎥🎞️🎬📽️🎦 ImageImageImageImage
The Sound of Metal 8/10
Metal drummer goes suddenly deaf and tries to deal with it. Gritty, original, powerful, and unexpected. On Amazon Prime. Image
Dead Man Down 7/10
Fairly classic, if elaborate, US revenge film but still quite entertaining. For when you just want some violence and don't want to think much. Image
Read 7 tweets
12 Jul
I had promised some movie reviews/tips a while back. Forgot about it, but here are some for your summer. #movies #documentaries #reviews #thread

(these four are must-sees 🎞️❤️)

Raw independent movie about two transgender sex workers showing the underbelly of Los Angeles. Incredible acting and cinematography. It was shot on 3 iPhones! 😮10/10
Below Zero

Excellent Spanish thriller about a prisoner transport that is ambushed but the plan is different than expected. Original twist to classic theme. 9/10
Read 21 tweets
2 Jul
As expected, after being kicked out of EPP (finally), Orbán is trying to merge ECR and ID (under his leadership). This "Joint Declaration on the Future of the European Union" looks like important first step, but various parties of groups are (still) missing. ImageImage
Ok, some quick thoughts:

1. A detail for most, perhaps, but the fact that the key unit is the "nation", not the "state", is very significant within the far right. It's quite interesting that state nationalists like FdI, RN and Vox have signed on to this.
2. There long has been schism between "ethnic nationalists", who prefer the "nation" (cultural), and "state nationalists, who prefer the "state" (political). They have long worked together but with tensions (FN-VB).
Read 14 tweets
5 May
This is an absolutely stunning little graph, tucked away in a new @pewglobal piece.

Let me explain why... #shortthread
During the second half of the 20th century, Germans were the least "proud" Europeans, for obvious reasons (Holocaust trauma). Only Belgians came close to rivaling them.
Not only have Germans become more patriotic -- as consequence of time and unification -- but many other countries have become less proud.
Read 10 tweets
8 Apr
Important graphs for Dutch journalists, politicians, and pundits. The Netherlands has the lowest (!) level of "affective polarization" and the lowest (!) level of "out-party dislike" from group of 20 Western democracies. 1/ Image
These are national averages of the individual subtractions of the average (!) "out-party dislike" from the "in-party liking".

In other words, "dislikes" of all other relevant parties are averaged (for instance, from GL to PVV) and subtracted from "in-party" (eg VVD) like. 2/
One reason for low score of "affective polarization" could be the rather low average score of "in-party liking". 3/
Read 12 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!