On the Ground in Kansas: Social Media, Academic Freedom, and the Fight for Higher Education

By Dan Colson

 

Abstract:

This essay explores the Kansas Board of Regents’ recently implemented rules addressing “Improper Use of Social Media” and faculty responses to this policy. Focusing on the moderate response that has predominated and the debates about the relationship between the First Amendment and academic freedom, the essay seeks, first, to elucidate the complexity of the issue by outlining the rules’ link to the divestment of higher education and, second, to raise questions about the best tactics for resisting the erosion of academic freedom in conservative political climates. Ultimately, it contends that noncombative responses to the policy and arguments that fail to articulate academic freedom as a value distinct from “free speech” miss opportunities: the opportunity to illuminate the social forces that spawned this policy, the opportunity to defend higher education’s unique social role, and the opportunity to remind the public that academic freedom is key to fulfilling this role.

View the entire article On the Ground in Kansas: Social Media, Academic Freedom, and the Fight for Higher Education

 

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