Watchdog: KS Board Of Regents “Worst Of The Worst” On Free Speech

March 2, 2015

By Lindsay Sax at wibw.com

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)– The Kansas Board of Regents finds itself among the “worst of the worst” abusers of free speech on colleges campuses in the country.

In fact, because the board oversees the state’s six universities, it holds a special distinction among the annual top ten list of First Amendment violators, as compiled by the Foundation for Individual Rights inEducation (FIRE).

With the exception of U.S. Dept. of Education, which also appeared on the list, every other institution listed was a single college or university.
The non-profit foundation noted that, even though it wasn’t a college, the Regents still deserved to be included because of “the profound effect they had on campus expression throughout the country last year.”

Specifically, FIRE said the Board of Regents “enact(ed) an overly broad policy on the ‘improper use of social media.'”

“Our colleges and universities are supposed to be where students go to debate and explore new ideas,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff.

“But too often the on the modern college campus, students and their professors find their voices silenced by administrators who would rather they be absent from the often contentious marketplace of ideas,” he says in the group’s report.

Other examples of free speech violation from other schools on the list included a college that wouldn’t let a student hand out copies of the Constitution on Constitution Day, then punished a professor who came to the student’s defense as well as a university that tried censoring a professor’s blog that criticized the school.

Besides the Board of Regents and U.S. Dept. of Education, the other institutions on the list were:

  • Brandeis University
  • California State University, Fullerton
  • Chicago State University
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Iowa
  • Marquette University
  • Modesto Junior College (Modesto, Calif.)

Cases: Kansas Board of Regents Approves Vague and Overbroad Social Media Policy