As troubling as the Kansas Board of Regents’ insistence on making tweeting a firing offense was the regents’ failure last week to understand the threat their actions posed to academic freedom, not to mention the state’s reputation. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Will Creeley told National Public Radio that Kansas universities now have one of the most restrictive social media policies in the nation. Kansas State University English professor Philip Nel said: “We already have a reputation of being anti-science; now we have a reputation of being anti-free speech.” Yet regents board chairman Fred Logan said: “I think this is good public policy,” emphasizing that the regents had added language to the policy emphasizing the importance of academic freedom. “What they don’t say, of course,” Nel later wrote on his blog, “is that they’re merely stapling language affirming academic freedom onto a policy that revokes academic freedom.”
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