After a gunman killed a dozen people at the Washington Navy Yard last September, UK professor David Guth tweeted “The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters.” In response, the Kansas Board of Regents last month approved a strict social media for employees. NPR reports:
The Kansas Board of Regents gave final approval Wednesday to a strict new policy on what employees may say on social media. Critics say the policy violates both the First Amendment and academic freedom, but school officials say providing faculty with more specific guidelines will actually bolster academic freedom on campus.
Critics say the broad nature of the guidelines would offer administrators enormous latitude in firing people — even those with tenure.
Will Creeley, director of legal and public advocacy at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, says it’s one of the most restrictive social media policies in the country.
“We have a First Amendment to protect controversial statements like professor Guth’s,” Creeley says. “We don’t have it to protect pictures of kittens posted on Facebook. If you punish a student or professor for a clearly protected speech, you send a message to everyone else on campus that you better watch what you say.”
The Kansas Board of Regents chairman said that the new policy would enhance free expression “by creating more specific guidelines.”
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