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Archive for Monday, April 28, 2014

Revised social media policy online and ready for comment

April 28, 2014

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— The revised social media policy for faculty and staff at public universities in Kansas has been posted online for public review and comment.

The Kansas Board of Regents Governance Committee will take comments on the proposal through 5 p.m. Friday. To read the proposed policy and comment on it go to http://www.kansasregents.org/recommended_amendments_to_current_social_media_policy

After considering public comments, the full regents will probably vote on a final policy next month.

Regents Chairman Fred Logan said that the proposed policy included many of the recommendations of a social media workgroup of faculty and staff.

"The Governance Committee is recommending that almost every word proposed by the social media workgroup be included in the revised policy," Logan said. "The revised policy also explicitly provides that it must be interpreted in accordance with First Amendment and academic freedom principles."

But there is a major difference between the revised policy and the workgroup's recommendation.

The workgroup recommended that the social media policy be used as guidelines. The revised policy still says that a school's chief executive officer can discipline or fire faculty or staff members who use social media in a way that "interferes with the regular operation of the university, or otherwise adversely affects the university’s ability to efficiently provide services."

Many faculty and staff members have said that policy is too broad and will produce a chilling effect on the free exchange of ideas on college campuses.

The regents' social media policy was made in response to an anti-NRA tweet in September 2013 by KU journalism professor David Guth.

The tweet caused a national uproar. Several months later, the regents adopted a policy that established disciplinary actions that school CEOs could take for improper use of social media. But a backlash of criticism from free speech advocates prompted the regents to appoint a workgroup to provide revisions.

However, in their initial response to the workgroup's recommendations, regents members said they wanted to keep the disciplinary portion of the policy.

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