Saturday, January 18, 2014

Group chosen to work on social media policy; KU’s Epp will co-chair

By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World

TOPEKA, KAN. — Kansas University professor Chuck Epp has been named co-chair of a committee that will review the controversial social media policy that was recently approved by the Kansas Board of Regents.

"I have heard a lot of concern about the policy from faculty and staff, and I think it is our role to take that concern seriously," said Epp, a professor in the KU School of Public Affairs and Administration.

Epp will co-chair the 13-member committee with Kevin Johnson, general counsel at Emporia State University, it was announced Friday.

The policy, which the regents approved in December, allows a university chief executive officer to discipline employees, up to firing them, for posts on social media that affect the university's ability to carry out its functions. It was enacted after a KU professor tweeted criticism of the NRA last September.

After widespread criticism that the policy is too vague and restricts free speech rights, the regents decided to have a committee of university representatives review the policy and suggest changes by April.

The committee members were chosen by Regents President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Tompkins, who requested names from each university president.

Each regents university has two representatives on the committee with an additional representative from the KU Medical Center.

Easan Selvan, associate director in Information Technology Services at KU, will also serve on the committee.

Christopher Steadham, KU Faculty Senate president, said Epp and Selvan were "outstanding choices."

"You have to give them some space to do their work, but there will be plenty of input for them to take into account from the faculty and the campus," Steadham said.

Other committee members

Emporia State University: Max McCoy, associate professor in the Department of English, Modern Languages and Journalism

Fort Hays State University: Kristin Rupp, web content manager; Melissa J. Hunsicker Walburn, assistant professor in the Department of Informatics

Kansas State University: Julia Keen, associate professor in the Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science and president of the Faculty Senate; Jeff Morris, vice president for communications and marketing

Pittsburg State University: Browyn Conrad, associate professor in the Department of History, Philosophy, and Social Science and president of PSU-KNEA; Dacia Clark, senior administrative specialist in alumni and constituent relations and president of the Classified Senate

University of Kansas Medical Center: Mark Fisher, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Wichita State University: Victoria Mosack, professor in the School of Nursing and president of the Faculty Senate; Richard Muma, associate vice president for academic affairs.

Staff writer Ben Unglesbee contributed to this report.