As a Torch reader, you’re probably already familiar with the controversial new social media policy adopted last week by the Kansas Board of Regents that empowers public universities in the state to terminate faculty whose speech in social media, among other things, “impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers” or “is contrary to the best interest of the university,” whatever that means in practice.
Yesterday, Slate columnist Rebecca Schuman joined the chorus of critics condemning the policy. In her column, titled “The Brave New World of Academic Censorship,” Schuman explains the tremendous threat this policy poses to professors’ academic freedom and free speech. She writes:
This new policy will effectively scare every employee of a Kansas university off the Internet. But should we be surprised, given the increasing resemblance of every public university in the United States to a Fortune 500 corporation, that professors and university staff are now being held to the same standards as private employees?
Well, in Kansas, it’s not just about being inflammatory—now, university employees can get fired for saying just about anything.
While we don’t agree with everything Schuman writes (for example, she thinks University of Kansas professor David Guth deserved his suspension for a controversial but protected tweet), we share her concerns about the social media policy. Check out Slate’s interesting article on the matter, and consider defending free speech on campus in the lively debate unfolding in the article’s comments section.
Image: Memorial Campanile and Carillon, University of Kansas – Flickr user Fox Lei