Created Equal: The Planned Integrated Community of Village Creek, Conn.

For America’s Independence Day, here’s a little-known chapter in the history of American anti-racism. Following the Second World War, progressives founded a dozen planned integrated communities across the country. While working on my biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss, I learned about one of those communities — a section of Norwalk Connecticut directly adjacent to where Johnson…

The Committee for Harmony, Loyalty, and Discipline: The Mixes

Because every revolution needs a soundtrack, I assembled a couple of CDs of songs for the drive to and from Topeka, for yesterday’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting. True, the drive is not in fact that long (only an hour each way), but creating playlists is a form of thinking. It’s something I do for fun. Really….

The object of power is power: a report from today’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting

“The object of power is power.” — O’Brien, in George Orwell’s 1984 To support the basic right to freedom of speech and to stand up for academic freedom, faculty, staff, and students from Kansas universities attended today’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting in Topeka, Kansas. The room was packed: standing room only.  The Board of Regents…

Kansas Faculty Senates ask Regents for “Freedom to speak without fear of reprisal”

Here is the statement from the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, read at today’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting, about 20 minutes ago. As the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, it is our responsibility to express to the Board the concerns of the faculty we represent. When the Social Media Policy was introduced in December,…

New Words, Same Tune: Kansas Board of Regents’ Revisions Fall Short

The Kansas Board of Regents’ revised social media policy grants academic freedom with one hand, and takes it away with the other. It adds the language of the work group’s model policy, but refuses the work group’s intent. It retains nearly all of the Board’s original language that drew such criticism — grounds for dismissal still include making statements “contrary to the best interests of the university,” or that “impair discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers,” and so on. But now, the policy begins by affirming principles of academic freedom.

Freedom of Speech and Higher Education

Participating in today’s “Five On the Hour: Stand for Freedom of Speech,” I’m posting the statements I prepared for my two classes. In practice, I ended up improvising. During my first class (English 725: African American Children’s Literature), I realized that I should have started with the connection to the class and then moved out…

Kansas Board of Regents Fails Again? UPDATED, 2:30 pm

Based on Lawrence Journal-World reporter Scott Rothschild’s tweets (see below), the Kansas Board of Regents are rejecting the social media work group’s thoughtful revisions to the Board of Regents’ failed social media policy.  If I understand Mr. Rothschild correctly, they’re going to tack on some language affirming academic freedom to a policy that eviscerates academic freedom….

Distinguished Professors from KSU, KU, KUMC, WSU: Open Letter to the Kansas Board of Regents

15 April 2014 Dear Kansas Board of Regents, We write to offer strong support for the joint working group’s revision of the Kansas Board of Regents’ social media policy.  The revised policy is laudable in several ways. First, it recognizes the unique and fundamental duty of public universities to contribute to the discovery, creation, and…

Kansas Board of Regents Wins Muzzle Award; Revised Social Media Policy Wins Praise

The reviews are in, and they’re good. The Social Media Policy Workgroup‘s revision to the Kansas Board of Regents’ social media policy has won near-unanimous praise. People are saying things like: “reasonable” — Chuck Epp, co-chairman of the Workgroup and Professor of Public Affairs, University of Kansas (he is summarizing the response thus far). “entirely appropriate” — Susan…