University Social Media Policy Stands - Now With First Amendment Language

Apr 22, 2014

Workgroup members Victoria Mosack and Richard Muma
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

The social media policy adopted by the public university system in Kansas is still being debated. A work group assigned to review and recommend changes to the policy presented their revisions last week. KMUW’s Aileen LeBlanc has more...

Written and approved last December in response to a tweet from a KU professor, the policy has been called "too broad." People in the system, which includes six universities, called for its immediate removal. The worries were about the policy’s possible effects on academic freedom and freedom of speech.

(see the American Association of University Professors Statement)

A 13-member workgroup was appointed and given a charge to review the policy and offer changes to its wording. The workgroup’s suggested policy, though supported with a complex document, is a simple set of statements which protect social media postings that are part of the teaching environment and/or are protected by the First Amendment.

Fred Logan

The chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents Fred Logan while in the working meeting with the governance committee did pull some of the workgroup’s wording into another revision of the policy.

“The governance committee, in the work session, decided to incorporate academic freedom and first amendment elements in a revised policy,” Logan said.

The committee also chose to retain the original language, which Logan said is nothing more than a recitation of language from existing case law, but will change the policy to start off with “strong statements of support for academic freedom and first amendment expression.”

Click on the "Listen" button above for the full story and on the links below to learn more.

Original Policy 

Proposed Policy

Listen to Aileen LeBlanc's previous story on KBOR's social media policy here

This story originally aired on Morning Edition on April 22, 2014.