Changes could come to social media policy for Kansas universities

Employees at Kansas universities may get more clarify on what they can tweet, post or write about on social media. The Kansas Board of Regents met Wednesday with its work group on potential changes to the current social media policy, which allows administrators to discipline or fire employees for what they post.

“Some of the language we felt was overly vague,” says Kevin Johnson from Emporia State University. “It was unclear therefore what does this mean, does this comment mean that, the chilling effect is someone in response might say I’m just not going to say anything.”

Johnson and Charles Epp from University of Kansas are part of the work group that presented revisions.

“We hear that Facebook pages have been taken down, or unwilling to engage in communications via email on controversial issues, I have not been given specific examples of that,” Epp says.

The Board took to social media to comment on the meeting, saying “there was good language in the proposed amendments, including reference to academic freedom and first amendment rights to be added.”

“I’m heartened that they’ve included protections for academic freedom and affirmation of first amendment protection,” Epp says, but he adds the board will decide how those protections will be worded in the revised policy.

“I think we still have to wait and see what, how that impacts, controls, limits the disciplinary provisions that still remain there, we’ll still have to see what the details are,” Epp says.

“The comments today don’t really say what that finished product will look like and the draft will come out and will be posted for comment at that point we’ll have confidence,” Johnson says.

The earliest the board will vote on the revised policy is next month.

Regents passed the current policy in December after a University of Kansas professor posted an anti-NRA tweet. He was put on paid administrative leave.

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