Monday, March 30, 2015

Gagged in Kansas? Bill Would Deny Free Speech to Public-College Employees

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 30th, 2015

Oh Dorothy, we are indeed in Kansas. Under a bill pending in the state’s Legislature, public-college and public-university employees in Kansas would be barred from using their official titles in newspaper opinion articles written in their capacity as private citizens.
The bill would prohibit public postsecondary employees in the state from “providing or using [the] employee’s official title when authoring or contributing to a newspaper opinion column.” But … don’t worry. The restriction applies “only when the opinion of the employee concerns a person who currently holds any elected public office in [the] state, a person who is a candidate for any elected public office in [the] state, or any matter pending before any legislative or public body in [the] state.”
Given various pressing issues likely to need attention in Kansas, it’s reassuring to know that the bill’s sponsors are hard at work to make sure that hapless elected officials are protected from bullying by public-college and -university employees.

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