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Academic freedom invaluable

By A Contributor

We, the students, faculty and staff of Kansas State University, oppose the implementation of the Social Media Policy to be considered at the May 2014 meeting of the Kansas Board of Regents. The original policy, unveiled in December 2013, was seriously flawed as well as unnecessary; the Regents institutions already have policies that are applicable to abuse of social (or any) media. The flaws in that policy were sufficient to generate a nationwide outpouring of protest and the formation of a working group to revise the policy.

Sadly, much of the good work of that working group seems to have been ignored. The revised policy does make some changes in response to the problems that were addressed by the working group, but significant problems, also identified by the working group, remain. Most importantly, academic freedom will still be abrogated if the revised policy is adopted, and academic freedom is an absolutely essential baseline for a productive and vibrant university. Loss of academic freedom will inevitably result in the diminution of the role of the Regents universities in education and in research at a time when the state of Kansas can ill afford that decline.

We urge the Kansas Board of Regents to adopt, in full, the policy that was developed by the working group, since that policy protects academic freedom and would allow the Regents universities to remain as a vibrant and productive player in the future of the state of Kansas.

The petition was posted online from April 28 to May 5. In that time, 446 individuals replied with complete responses,including 71 KSU students, 52 KSU staff members, 314 KSU faculty members and 9 individuals who are not affiliated with KSU. 433 (97.1 percent) of these individuals, 93 percent of the students, 94 percent of the staff, 98 percent of the faculty members, and 100 percent of the unaffiliated individuals agreed with the text of the petition, urging the Kansas Board of Regents to adopt, in full, the policy crafted by the working group.

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