K-State students, employees sign media petition

By Bethany Knipp

Four hundred forty-six students and members of the faculty and staff at Kansas State University signed a petition against the Kansas Board of Regents’ proposed social media policy.

The petition was developed by the Faculty Senate leadership group and sent to the regents on Tuesday.

The document opposes the current policy adopted in December and its amended proposal that includes disciplinary action for university employees who use social media in ways “contrary to the best interests of the university” or in ways that “[impair] discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers.”

The proposal, which will be considered by the full board next week, includes language emphasizing academic freedom, but maintains the disciplinary clauses.

The academic freedom language was included after the regents assigned a work group to make changes to the current policy.

Proponents of the proposal, including Regents Chair Fred Logan, said disciplinary action would only come after First Amendment protections and academic freedom clauses were considered first.

The petition calls the current policy “seriously flawed as well as unnecessary” because the Regents’ institutions already have policies that are applicable to abuse of social media.

“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,” the petition reads.

The petition was online from April 28 until Monday. It was signed by 71 students, 52 staff members, 314 faculty and members and nine people not affiliated with K-State. The Regents meeting is scheduled for May 14 and 15.

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