Freedom of Speech Returns to Kansas Universities?

Good news for employees of Kansas universities. Freedom of speech appears to have been restored! You see, the Kansas Board of Regents’ recently passed social media policy says employees of Regents-governed Kansas universities do not have the right to freedom of speech. To be specific, employees can be fired for speech that “impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers,” “has…

Kansas State University’s NEW Academic Freedom Statement

In response to the Kansas Board of Regents’ draconian, unconstitutional social media policy, a group of concerned faculty and students from Kansas State University drafted an Academic Freedom statement, during this past summer. I was not a member of this group, but I fully endorse their statement, which can be found as no. 3 on Kansas…

Posters for Harmony, Loyalty, and Discipline

Under the Kansas Board of Regents‘ brave new social media policy, the faculty and staff of Kansas universities must make sure that their speech is harmonious, loyal, and conducive to discipline.  So, the Kansas Board of Regents’ Committee for Harmony, Loyalty and Discipline is here to help you monitor speech. Our staff artist, Comrade Warner, has created…

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,…

The Committee for Harmony, Loyalty, and Discipline

The Kansas Board of Regents’ new social media policy will require vigilant enforcement.  How will we determine when speech is “contrary to the best interests of the employer”?  How will we recognize speech that “impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers”?  How can we prevent speech that has a “detrimental impact on close working relationships”?  Given…

Impairing Discipline and Harmony; or, This Morning’s Twitter-chat with the Kansas Board of Regents

The Kansas Board of Regents’ Twitter account and I had a somewhat predictable conversation this morning. For any who find might it interesting, I include it below. The short version: The Kansas Board of Regents insists that academic freedom is now protected; however, sections 3.ii and 3.iv (see p. 32 of agenda) continue to contradict that…

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.

Fighting for Freedom of Speech: The First Amendment Under Attack

Good afternoon.  Thanks for coming.  Thanks to Susan Kemper for organizing this, and to KU for hosting. I’m @philnel on Twitter. The Board of Regents is @ksregents. And the hashtag for this conference is #FreeSpeechKS. If you Tweet, feel free to tag us. In case there are any Regents unable to attend, I will periodically…

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…