Distinguished Professors from KSU and KU: Open Letter to the Kansas Board of Regents

Kansas State University

Dear Kansas Board of Regents,

As University Distinguished Professors at Kansas State University and Distinguished Professors at the University of Kansas, we write to express our continued concern about the new social media policy. We appreciate that the Board has invited representatives from the universities to review the policy, and to offer recommendations for amendments to said policy. However, we ask that the policy itself be suspended until such review has taken place.

With the policy in place during this period of review, faculty and staff at Kansas universities would no longer have freedom of speech, nor the academic freedom necessary to do their jobs, nor tenure. The policy stifles free expression, adversely affects morale at all universities, makes it harder for us to recruit top-tier faculty, and indeed makes it likely that our own faculty will seek work elsewhere. If we lack the ability to debate controversial ideas, we cannot do our jobs as teachers or scholars.

According to its mission statement, the Board of Regents’ job is to “advocate powerfully” for “continuous improvement in the quality and effectiveness of the public postsecondary educational system in Kansas.” Instead of advocating for its quality and effectiveness, this new policy undermines both.

Sincerely yours,

Christer Aakeroy, Chemistry, KSU
Ken Armitage, Biology, KU
Jeff Aubé, Medicinal Chemistry, KU
Victor Bailey, History, KU
Raj Bhala, Law, KU
John Blair, Biology, KSU
Frank Blecha, Anatomy & Physiology, KSU
Susan Brown, Biology, KSU
Edgar Chambers IV, Human Nutrition, KSU
M. M. Chengappa, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology, KSU
Lew Cocke, Physics, KSU
Gary Conrad, Biology, KSU
Ann E. Cudd, Philosophy, KU
David Darwin, Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering, KU
Lynn Davidman, Sociology, KU
Richard De George, Philosophy, KU
Rob Denell, Biology, KSU
Elizabeth Dodd, English, KSU
Walter Dodds, Biology, KSU
Michael Dryden, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology, KSU
James H. Edgar, Chemical Engineering, KSU
Charles C. Eldredge, Art History, KU
Paul Enos, Geology, KU
Stephen Fawcett, Applied Behavioral Science, KU
H. George Frederickson, Public Administration, KU
Victor Frost, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, KU
Prasad Gogineni, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, KU
David Hartnett, Biology, KSU
John Hatcliff, Computing & Information Sciences, KSU
Dale Herspring, Political Sciences, KSU
Jonathan Holden, English, KSU
Ryszard Jankowiak, Chemistry, KSU
Anthony Joern, Biology, KSU
Michael Kanost, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, KSU
Susan Kemper, Psychology, KU
Barbara Kerr, Psychology & Research in Education, KU
Ken Klabunde, Chemistry, KSU
John Leslie, Plant Pathology, KSU
Bob Linder, History, KSU
David Littrell, Music, KSU
Susan M. Lunte, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU
Joe Lutkenhaus, Microbiology, Molecular Genetics & Immunology, KU
Daniel Marcus, Anatomy & Physiology, KSU
James Marsden, Animal Sciences & Industry, KSU
Richard Marston, Geography, KSU
Elias K. Michaelis, Pharmacology & Toxicology, KU
Russ Middaugh, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU
T.G. Nagaraja, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology, KSU
Joane Nagel, Sociology, KU
Philip Nel, English, KSU
Berl R. Oakley, Molecular Biosciences, KU
Rosemary O’Leary, Public Affairs & Administration, KU
A. Townsend Peterson, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, KU
Harald E. L. Prins, Anthropology, KSU
Chuck Rice, Agronomy, KSU
Juergen Richt, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology, KSU
Jim Riviere, Anatomy & Physiology, KSU
Richard A. Robison, Geology, KU
Tom Roche, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, KSU
Dan Rockhill, Architecture, KU
Jan Roskam, Aerospace Engineering, KU
Edmund Russell, History, KU
Paul Selden, Geology, KU
Ted Schroeder, Agricultural Economics, KSU
James Shanteau, Psychological Sciences, KSU
Prakash P. Shenoy, Business, KU
Chris Sorensen, Physics, KSU
Paulette Spencer, Mechanical Engineering, KU
Brian S. Spooner, Biology, KSU
Valentino J. Stella, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU
Xiuzhi Susan Sun, Grain Science & Industry, KSU
Karan Surana, Mechanical Engineering, KU
Barbara M. Timmermann, Medicinal Chemistry, KU
Michael Tokach, Animal Sciences & Industry, KSU
Ann Turnbull, Special Education, KU
Rud Turnbull, Special Education, KU
Barbara Valent, Plant Pathology, KSU
David B. Volkin, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU
Philine Wangemann, Anatomy & Physiology, KSU
Ruth Welti, Biology, KSU
Donald Worster, History, KU
Dean Zollman, Physics, KSU
University Distinguished Professors, Kansas State University
Distinguished Professors, University of Kansas
Manhattan & Lawrence, KS

cc: Governor Sam Brownback, KSU President Kirk Schulz, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, KSU Provost April Mason, KU Provost Jeff Vitter, KSU Faculty Senate President Julia Keen, KU Faculty Senate President Chris Steadham, KSU Director of Government Relations Sue Peterson

A print version of this appears as an ad on Sunday, 12 January 2014 in: The Lawrence Journal-World, The Manhattan Mercury, and The Topeka Capital-Journal.

The Lawrence Journal-World:
Letter to Kansas Board of Regents, Lawrence Journal-World

The Manhattan Mercury:
Letter to Kansas Board of Regents, Manhattan Mercury

The Topeka Capital-Journal:
Letter to Kansas Board of Regents, Topeka Capital-Journal


  1. Pingback: Controversial University of Kansas Social Media Policy Under Review

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