The Kansas Board of Regents is considering some changes to controversial social media rules. But right now, regents are supporting the core of the policy. Employees can be disciplined or fired for social media posts that violate the rules, including statements judged not to be in the best interest of a university or that interfere with a university’s operation. A Board of Regents Committee yesterday (WED) considered recommendations suggested by a study group. Members of that group raised concerns that the current rules have a chilling effect and can stifle discussion. Charles Epp, a professor at the University of Kansas, says cutting edge research can sometimes cause controversy.
The regents committee rejected the study group’s proposal to scale back the social media policy. But regents are considering adding some of the study group’s language that says the regents have a commitment to academic freedom and free speech. Regent Fred Logan says the First Amendment protects many comments made by university employees, including criticizing the regents or a university president or chancellor.
The co-chairs of the study group say they are pleased the committee is considering some of their language, but they’re waiting to see the final draft. Another member of the group, Max McCoy, says the actions by the regents are only “window dressing.” The committee will review an amended draft of the social media policy in the coming weeks. The full Board of Regents will likely consider the changes at a meeting next month.