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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Social Media (ii)

[See disclaimer on my previous post: my views are mine alone.]

It is said that the Regents' Social Media Policy (SMP) will not be applied very much, if at all. I should hope not. The faculty and staff does not live in constant fear that the chancellor will dismiss us from our jobs.

SMP does not have to be actually used, though, for it to have an effect on free speech. Instead, an overly broad policy, with sweeping language about "the best interests of the university," has a chilling effect, converting us all into self-censors. A lot of things are presumably in the best interest of the university:

*Having a Republican-controlled legislature look favorably upon the university and funding it generously.
*Having good publicity in the news media; high rankings in US News and World Report for our programs.
*Having our leaders and administrators have good public reputations.

It would be easy to see how numerous legitimate expressions of opinion might not be in the best interests of the institution. The Regents are saying that the 1st amendment still applies, but a lot of us are not too sure.

The same could be said of other sweeping provisions in the proposed SMP.

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