Social-media policy – The Kansas Board of Regents’ new social-media policy gives university CEOs broad authority to dole out discipline for “improper use of social media,” which also is broadly defined to include anything that “adversely affects the university’s ability to efficiently provide services.” There is no specific mention of academic freedom or protections for tenured faculty, although individual universities must establish a grievance procedure to allow faculty and staff to appeal a CEO’s decision. As noted by a KU professor who also is state conference president for the American Association of University Professors, the new policy is “fraught with potential for abuse.”
The Kansas Board of Regents’ social-media policy is overly broad and actively limits the free speech of all its employees. And while members of the NRA and fierce defenders of the Second Amendment might relish a policy that would prevent people like University of Kansas journalism professor David Guth from speaking their minds on social media, the policy also means that a regents employee who shared the views of firearms enthusiast Ted Nugent similarly would find himself in trouble. And therein is the danger of policies that restrict free speech, and why it is important to fight any effort by the state to determine what is or is not acceptable for someone to say.