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Kansas Regents Reject Plea To Suspend Social Media Plan

The Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday denied a faculty group’s request that it suspend a controversial social media policy that has received national criticism as harming free speech.

Emporia State Professor Sheryl Lidzy, representing the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, asked for the suspension, saying the plan could harm the hiring of top quality faculty and continue to generate negative publicity.

Among other things, the policy gives the schools the ability to suspend or fire any faculty or staff for using social media for “improper” comments. That would include using Facebook, Twitter or other social networks to incite violence, disclose student information or research or any comments that are “contrary to the best interest of the university.

The new policy was enacted in December after a David Guth, a KU associate professor, lashed out at the National Rifle Association in a tweet after the Washington Navy Yard shootings last fall.

“The blood is on the hands of the #NRA,” he tweeted, “Next time let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you.”

Fred Logan, Regent Board chair, quickly responded to Lidzy, saying the social media plan will stay in place, adding that the board views the faculty as “our friends and colleagues in high education.”

In December, the board backpedaled on the policy, saying it would create a working group to review the policy. That group is expected to be named on Friday and its report is set for April. 

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