Regents chair refuses to suspend social media policy

? Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Fred Logan on Wednesday refused a request from a faculty group to suspend the board’s recently approved social media policy.

Sheryl Lidzy, chair of the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, said the policy has brought negative publicity to higher education in Kansas and may hinder efforts to hire top-quality faculty.

The policy, which the regents approved in December, allows a university CEO to discipline employees, up to firing them, for posts on social media that affect the university’s ability to carry out its functions. It was enacted after a Kansas University professor tweeted criticism of the NRA last September.

After widespread criticism that the policy is too vague and restricts free speech rights, the regents said it would form a working group of university representatives to review the policy and suggest changes by April.

The Council of Faculty Senate Presidents approved a resolution to suspend the policy while that review process is under way.

“A suspension of this policy would allow for a more proactive focus on timely concerns, and minimize related distractions,” the resolution stated. It was signed by representatives from all regents schools, including Christopher Steadham from Kansas University and Dr. David Naylor at Kansas University Medical Center.

But Logan said he believed the board wouldn’t suspend the policy but will await the recommendations from the working group.

“The board unanimously approved this policy and did so in good faith,” Logan said. He said he believed the policy was a re-statement of existing law.

Members of that review group are expected to be announced on Friday.