When Georgia’s fiscal 2023 budget starts on July 1, students will see a bit of a reprieve on their bills.
The budget includes $230 million for the University System of Georgia (USG) to eliminate a so-called Special Institutional Fee (SIF). The fee ranges from $170 to $544 per semester, depending on the institution.
Georgia State Representative Josh Bonner (R-Fayetteville) said this week that University System of Georgia officials oppose a bill he’s submitted that would, if enacted into law, bestow students with greater First Amendment rights. “The [University System of Georgia] officials are very opposed to it,” Bonner told The Georgia Star News.
University systems with bans on COVID-19 mask mandates are taking diametrically opposed approaches to faculty who refuse to comply, offering a real-time experiment in the effectiveness of persuasion versus coercion.
The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) removed biology professor Steve O’Kane from the classroom for the rest of the semester and forced him to forgo a merit pay raise for threatening to grade down students for not wearing masks.
The same day the faculty senate voted to indefinitely postpone O’Kane’s resolution to let faculty require masks in spite of the Board of Regents ban, Cedar Rapids news outlet The Gazette reported.
Fifty University of Georgia science professors have banded together and said they will mandate masks in their classrooms, despite the fact that the University System of Georgia (USG) says students do not have to wear masks.
“We are deeply devoted to the education and well-being of all members of the University community and feel obligated to protect our students and fellow employees from the unnecessary dangers associated with inappropriate public health planning and messages,” the professors reportedly wrote in a letter to administrators.
In defiance of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for group gatherings, Georgia faculty and students have coordinated weeklong protests of the University System of Georgia.
The students are gathering to demand that the University System implement a mask mandate on all of the state’s publicly-run university campuses.
The University System of Georgia announced that it plans to drop mask mandates for fully vaccinated students and employees in the Fall 2021 semester, marking a return to relative normalcy.
“Fully vaccinated individuals can resume campus classes and other activities without wearing a mask. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to continue wearing a face covering while inside campus facilities,” a press release said.