Thursday, May 22, 2014

Life Under KBOR

If you’ve been following the news then you know that back in December KBOR approved a social media policy that gave the Executive Administrator of each institution authority to fire any faculty or staff member who used social media in a way that disrupted workplace harmony or implied disloyalty or impaired supervision or was in any way not in the best interests of the University as that individual defines it. Uproar ensued.

A Workgroup comprised of staff and faculty from all seven Regents institutions was charged with revising the policy; they came up with one that was short, affirming and definitely (or defiantly) not punitive and presented it to the Regents at the April meeting. You can find a link to the work group policy here.

Apparently, KBOR wasn’t too happy this new policy. Maybe it wasn’t sufficiently punitive? Anyway, KBOR revised their original policy by adopting some of the language of the Workgroup policy, notably that affirming academic freedom. Much to the disappointment of a lot of people, however, the revised KBOR policy retained the language about harmony, loyalty and discipline. You can read KBOR’s revised policy here.

Included on the agenda for the meeting last Wednesday was a vote on the slightly revised KBOR Social Media policy. To their credit, the Regents gave Emporia State University’s Sheryl Lidzy an opportunity to read—on behalf of the Kansas Council of Faculty Senate Presidents—a statement defending freedom of speech and requesting the Regents to abandon their pursuit of an overly broad and highly punitive policy and to instead adopt the Taskforce policy. You can find Lidzy’s statement here

Otherwise, the lead up to the vote was an extremely well-orchestrated and (to me) discredible affirmation of the respect KBOR has for faculty and for academic freedom, beginning with numerous statements by KBOR President Fred Logan and concluding with a summary of the revised policy that underscored a number of ways that it borrows language from the task force policy, as if that were in and off itself proof that KBOR does in fact respect faculty. The vote was, unsurprisingly, unanimous in favor of the KBOR revised policy.

So here’s where things stand: if Kirk Schulz or someone who has his ear, like my department head or dean or any one of the Regents, decides that this post somehow contrary to the best interests of the University or disrupts harmony, loyalty and discipline, then I can be fired from my tenured position, post-haste. Will that happen? I seriously doubt it. But the fact that it could happen . . . well, that’s cause for concern and not just for me or my family or KSU but for the entire state of Kansas.

Next: why I think this has happened.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

And the beat goes on (the KBOR beat, that is)

One of my brilliant colleagues in the English Department at Kansas State University published this letter to the editor in the Lawrence Journal World objecting to the decision to revise the really bad social media policy imposed on us by the Regents. Nel says that "“amending” this ill-conceived policy is a bit like hiring an architect after you’ve already built the house."

 It's worth a read, and worth sharing, if you've a mind to.

Also, Kirk Schulz never replied to my recommended revision to his statement about the social media policy. I guess he didn't like it!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Kansas Board of Regents, Social Media Policy: A Response to KSU President Schulz

 A lot has been written lately about the Kansas Board of Regents new Social Media Policy. If you aren't up to speed, I recommend that you read Phil Nel's blog which offers insightful analysis of the many deficiencies of the policy and links to the policy itself and other commentary on it. (Thanks Phil).

Today, KSU President Kirk Schulz  finally made a public statement. You can read it here.

Here is the text of the email I sent him:

Dear President Schulz,

Thank you for finally speaking out publicly about this new and extremely damaging policy.

I was especially drawn to the following paragraph:

"When the Kansas Board of Regents voted this policy into place, they made it clear we need to continue a broad-based conversation on social media with all constituent groups. It is my intention to work closely with KU Chancellor Gray-Little and the other presidents in collaboration with the Kansas Board of Regents on modification of the policy to one that is acceptable to all in the Kansas higher education community. This will require continued dialog among the different constituent groups and a willingness by all parties to be patient as everyone has an opportunity to present alternative views."

I am dismayed to observe that you do not specifically mention faculty or staff as "constituent groups." Indeed, you seem to envision a process whereby Regents and high-level Administrators "modify" the policy.

I personally find this to be unacceptable on two counts:

First, the policy is not amenable to "modification." It must be thrown out and completely re-envisioned.

Second, this process of designing a social media polity must involve faculty and staff as well as administrators and Regents. No one constituency should be allowed to dominate the conversation.

Very best wishes,

Christina Hauck

He got right back to me! Here's his reply:


Thanks for your note - and let me clarify.  Any changes to the policy - and many are needed- must be done with faculty and staff as leaders on the process.  I apologize that I was not more explicit in my letter.



So I returned the favor:

Dear Kirk,

Thanks for the prompt reply. I am heartened.

Perhaps you will consider revising the paragraph to reflect your actual intentions?  I offer the following suggestion:

It is my intention to work closely with KU Chancellor Gray-Little and the other presidents in collaboration with the Kansas Board of Regents on modification of the policy to one that is acceptable to all in the Kansas higher education community faculty, staff, and Adminstrators from all Kansas Regents institutions to craft an alternate social media policy and offer to the Board of Regents for their input and approval."

Very sincerely,

Christina Hauck 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Will of the People

I've read quite a few comments on various blogs written in response to Judge Walker's lifting the stay on gay marriage. Many of them argue that judges should not overturn the will of the people.

Ted Olso put it pretty eloquently on Fox, asking "Would you like Fox's right to a free press put up to a vote?"

I'd like to know if conservatives would think if the majority of voters decided that women shouldn't vote?

What if the majority decided that it was in their best interests to reinstate slavery?

What if the majority of votes decided that the Emancipation Proclamation was an illegal taking of private property by the Federal Government?

And conservatives reading this? Any reply?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Freedom is Not Free

A comfortable right-wing slogan mean to shut up anti-war activists.

Let's reclaim it, as in:

The price of freedom is being willing to die for your freedom--and being willing to extend your freedom to almost anyone, even if it means you might die because of your generosity.

So let the mosques go up, let the shuls go up, let the temples of Mammon go up, and let the people worship as they will. And if--big big if--one of those worshippers turns fanatical and tries to kill you and your family, defend yourself mightily.

And if you die, let your epithet read: S/he died for freedom.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Conservative Strategy #2

Polarize. Divide the world into friend and foe, good and evil, right and wrong. Say whatever you like about your foes, even if it's false or cruel. Blame everything on your enemy. Broadcast  your point of view as loudly and as frequently as possible. Interrupt anyone who questions your point of view or moderate your claims or ask for facts.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Conservative Strategy #1

Lie. Most of the time the press will print whatever you say as if it were true and without checking facts. Your enemies (anyone who disagrees with you on any point small or large) will have their energies diverted into running around gathering up the evidence that you lied. In the meantime, you can make up more lies.