KU Panel Discusses the Current Social Media Policy in Universities

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Controversies over social media posts have run wild for Kansas professors this year.

Kansas First News reporter Vanessa Martinas explains how some professors spent their weekend talking about social media policies.

“It inconsistent with our deeply felt sense of responsibility to, to evaluate ideas on the bases of their merit and not other grounds,” KU Professor Charles Epp said.

Sunday, professors from all over the state met at the University of Kansas to discuss the Kansas Board of Regents current social media policy.

“That the speech of public employees that is made pursuant to job duties is not protected by the first amendment,” Epp said.

Professors from the Joint Council of Kansas Distinguished Professors have been actively voicing their opinions about the policy.

They need clarification because they say the wording is vague.

“In the wording of the current policy doesn’t adhered to the narrow definition as articulated by supreme court cases,” KU Professor Richard Levy said.

One of the concerns that was discussed was if the current policy is a violation of their first amendment rights.

KU Professor Doug Ward says it currently limits freedom of speech.

Which could cause a dilemma for universities.

“I find the current policy very troubling, I think it’s just problematic on so many levels and has the potential of causing I think problems and stifling what we can do,” Ward said.

Another concern was if the topic of a post on a social media website is something a university can hold against its professors.

Topics that include politics, religion and even sports.

“The policy as it’s written now, I just think that it has so many problem areas that it has potential to restrict what we do,” Ward said.

The panel is planning to submit their proposal of changes to the policy to Kansas Board of Regents.

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