Thursday, May 15, 2014

Universities and Social Media

The Kansas Board of Regents made a decision on its social media policy and it's messed up:

The new policy says that faculty and staff of the state's six universities, 19 community colleges and six technical colleges may not say anything on social media that would incite violence, disclose confidential student information or release protected data. But it also says staffers are barred from saying anything "contrary to the best interests of the university."

What constitutes "the best interests of the university"? I find that creepy because it can mean anything. That you can be fired if you criticize a corporate sponsor of the university, for example? Or write something that annoys leaders in the state legislature, who make funding decisions? Basically, yes:

The chief executive officer of a state university has the authority to suspend, dismiss or terminate from employment any faculty or staff member who makes improper use of social media.  "Social media" means any facility for online publication and commentary, including but not limited to blogs, wikis, and social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.
I use Twitter and Blogger daily and although I don't think anything I write would fall under this category, maybe I am wrong and I could get suspended for pointing out what I believe to be flawed logic with the state legislature's approach to education funding or, heaven forbid, for giving the impression that UNC Charlotte roots for the San Diego Padres.

We're in a profession that revolves around thinking, writing, and conveying. The more you impose restrictions on that--beyond the normal and reasonable restrictions on speech that apply to everyone--the more you block that process and warp it. I hope very much that "best interest of the university" part is not invoked and not copied elsewhere.


Anonymous,  2:42 PM  

Any thoughts on the recent resolution passed by the Guatemalan congress?

Greg Weeks 3:16 PM  

good lord, what a joke! Maybe I will have to write about that tomorrow.

Anonymous,  4:36 PM  

Oh like this

Greg Weeks 4:38 PM  

oh man, yes, that would be a prime example.

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