Yesterday, the Board of Regents voted to enact a policy governing social media postings by faculty and staff at all Regents universities.
Application of this policy falls to the individual universities. As is the case with other Regents policies governing faculty and staff rights and responsibilities, we will work closely with university governance on how to apply this policy at KU in a way that respects our university’s core values and beliefs, as well as our rights and responsibilities as public university employees.
During discussion of the policy, board members made clear this policy is to be part of the ongoing conversation among the various stakeholder groups involved in the issue. Freedom of thought, inquiry and expression are central to the success of a university. We also know that as employees of a public flagship university, our words and actions are closely scrutinized. Indeed, a few weeks ago AAUP released a draft report on the challenges faced by the academy as we adopt these new social media tools.
Higher education has a national need for leadership in this area and this is an opportunity for us to help shape that conversation. For example, we have already scheduled a dialogue titled “Data & Democracy: What is Free Speech in the Age of Social Media?” at 7 p.m. March 25, 2014 at The Commons. The discussion will be moderated by Deanell Reece Tacha, a KU alumna and the Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean of the School of Law and professor of law at Pepperdine University.
The world’s communications culture is undergoing a dramatic shift in response to new technologies that are inspiring an evolution in human interaction, raising questions that range from etiquette to employment law. The University of Kansas has experienced firsthand the power and implications of this new world.
Given the breadth of this issue, how KU responds to this challenge must involve the full participation of our faculty and of our staff. We look forward to working with you and your elected governance leaders to ensure our university’s ideals are upheld.