The University System of Georgia will not be sending auditors to ensure that University of Georgia classes are in person, USG spokesperson Aaron Diamant said in an email Monday.
Some UGA professors were told it was possible that USG auditors would check whether classes were meeting in person at their specified classrooms. Shira Chess, an associate professor of entertainment and media studies, received an email from her department head saying USG audits “may take place that check to see that what’s in an instructional plan is actually what’s being done.”
Chess posted a screenshot of the email in a tweet that garnered hundreds of likes and retweets. Janet Frick, an associate professor of psychology, posted on Twitter a letter from professors in the Mary Frances Early College of Education in response to news that classes might be audited. She suggested that professors use the letter as a response when asked about their teaching choices.
Chess said professors were told to make altered plans for fall instruction during the summer, and that she was under the impression that she would be able to change them. As time went on and she spoke to students, her ideas for how she would teach in the fall shifted, she said. However, the email from her department head said professors wouldn’t be allowed to change from their summer COVID-19 plans.
“UGA and USG spend a lot of time and energy bragging about how professional and knowledgeable their faculty is,” Chess said. “They should trust that their faculty know how best to teach their students, whether that’s in-person, whether that’s online or whether that’s some sort of hybrid.”
Faculty members across colleges at UGA also received different guidance on the audits, Chess said. Some heard they might be audited, while others were assured they wouldn’t be.
Despite conflicting information, USG has no plans to send auditors to UGA classes.
“We have not hired or redirected anyone to do this,” Diamant said in the email.
Chess said while she is “thrilled” USG isn’t sending auditors, she is concerned that department heads and deans were receiving and spreading different information.
“I don’t know where it’s coming from,” Chess said. “There’s a communication breakdown somewhere. If it’s not true, then we need to stop being threatened.”