hide captionThe Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication wants the Kansas Board of Regents to reverse the social media policy it finalized earlier this month.
The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication wants the Kansas Board of Regents to reverse the social media policy it finalized earlier this month.
The clash between academic freedom and state oversight in Kansas last week continues, as the state Board of Regents revised its policy on what faculty and staff at the state’s colleges and universities can post on social media.
Following harsh criticism of a policy adopted last year that severely restricted social media postings by faculty, the Board added language that is supportive of free speech and academic freedom. But it still allows administrators to suspend and fire faculty members or staffers for social media posts that are “contrary to the best interests of the employer.”
Critics say the policy remains among the most restrictive in the nation and that despite the changes it is a severe restriction on free speech for educators.
“The exercise of free speech is now potentially a firing offense at colleges and universities in Kansas,” the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication writes in a statement.
The Board of Regents first adopted its social media policy last year, in response to a tweet made by an associate journalism professor at the University of Kansas.
The tweet by David Guth criticized the National Rifle Association in relation to the September 2013 shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. Guth tweeted: “blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters.”
The policy adopted in December was denounced from many sides, with many critics saying it gave administrators too much latitude to fire or discipline employees for what they said on social media.
Among the groups speaking out was The American Association of University Professors which argued that some portions of the policy could lead to professors being fired simply for disagreeing with university policies or their colleagues online.
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Educators Not Satisfied With Revised Kansas Social Media Policy