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UNG puts professor on leave, pursues dismissal

DAHLONEGA — University of North Georgia professor Vicki McCard has been put on paid administrative leave as the university pursues termination following an incident earlier this year.

McCard, a tenured professor who has worked in the university’s Spanish department for more than 21 years, was placed on leave following an argument with a guest speaker.

The case was first brought to public attention through an article in the university’s student newspaper, Vanguard Dahlonega, which alleged McCard had been fired. The article has since been removed from that newspaper’s website.

Kate Maine, associate vice president of university relations, said the university is following the procedural requirements for terminating a tenured faculty member outlined in the Board of Regents’ policy manual.

“This process was initiated in response to a request by faculty members in Dr. McCard’s department,” Maine said. “The University of North Georgia strictly follows the University System of Georgia’s policy and processes related to employment.”

A panel of UNG faculty members did an informal review of the investigation report prepared by university legal counsel in response to McCard’s actions and recommended she be terminated, in accordance with the university system process, Maine said

McCard, who didn’t return phone calls from The Times of Gainesville, requested a formal hearing, which would be conducted by a faculty hearing committee.

She and the faculty members have instead agreed to postpone the hearing and meet with an external mediator to attempt to resolve the issue, Maine said.

“The university’s progressive disciplinary policy, which is outlined in the Employee Handbook, and the University System of Georgia processes ensure a comprehensive review of specific situations and a range of responses based on the nature, repetition, and escalation of behavior,” she said.

The actions taken against McCard were the topic of discussion at a Political Science Student Association meeting Wednesday at the university.

Students and professors at the meeting expressed concerns the university was not following standard procedure for a tenured professor.