Check out this bill in Kansas that seeks to prohibit professors from using their title if they publish anything in a newspaper. The idea is to diminish the author's expertise. With good reason, professors have never been able to give the impression that we speak for the university, but this is different. No one thinks an individual op-ed speaks for the university just because you know where the author works.
From the bill's text:
The state board of regents, the board of trustees of any community college, the board of regents of any municipal university and the governing body of any technical college shall adopt and implement, or require to be implemented, a policy and plan which prohibits an employee from providing or using such employee's official title when authoring or contributing to a newspaper opinion column. Such policy and plan shall prohibit employees from providing or using such employee's official title in a newspaper opinion column only when the opinion of the employee concerns a person who currently holds any elected public office in this state, a person who is a candidate for any elected public office in this state or any matter pending before any legislative or public body in this state. This section shall not prohibit an employee from providing such employee's personal opinion on a person currently holding an elected position, a person who is a candidate for any elected public office or any matter pending before a legislative body as long as such employee does so without providing or using such employee's official title when authoring or contributing to a newspaper opinion column.
What this would do is take away professors' ability to show our employment, which is a signal of our expertise. If I write an op-ed about Latin American politics as Greg Weeks, resident of Charlotte, it will not be taken as seriously as if I write it as a professor who studies Latin American politics.* Readers will pay less--or perhaps no--attention to the former than to the latter, and that is the point of the legislation. In particular, writing that is critical--which of course op-eds so often are--will receive less attention.
It seems silly to make professors pretend they're not professors when they want to demonstrate the expertise they've developed by being professors. Just add this to the problems Kansas has with universities and free speech.
* the same goes for providing expert witness testimony, speaking before community groups, talking to reporters, etc., etc.
h/t Brad DeLong