- Letter to the Editor
Rulings ‘right thing to do’
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows a record-high 59 percent of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples, with only 34 percent opposed.
The Post poll was conducted after a series of recent high-profile marriage wins with landmark rulings in Kentucky, Texas, Virginia, Utah and Oklahoma. Over the past few weeks, the climate has been very favorable for the freedom to marry.
The deep support reaches into every region of the country and extends across party lines: 40 percent of Republicans back the freedom for all couples to marry.
Bipartisan momentum is overwhelmingly on our side. A supermajority of Americans believe in freedom and fairness, and support is growing at an unprecedented speed.
Overwhelmingly, Americans – no matter where they live, how old they are, or what party they belong to – believe in treating their gay and lesbian family members and friends with dignity and respect by supporting their freedom to marry.
It’s the right thing to do on both moral and constitutional grounds.
Marc Solomon is the national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, a national gay-marriage activist organization. He lives in Boston.
‘Quality care will be a thing of the past’
On Feb. 27, I introduced a bill, the Four Rationers Repeal Act of 2014, to protect the doctor-patient relationship and to end health-care rationing by the federal government as authorized in Obamacare.
In the absence of a full repeal of Obamacare, we need to fight the further intrusion of the federal government into the relationship between doctors and patients. This intrusion through four unaccountable government agencies is hidden under the cloak of innovation and prevention and is one of the most damaging threats to the quality of health care in America.
My bill repeals the four rationing bodies that seek to limit options for care under the misconception that health care is one size-fits-all. I’ve been talking about the four rationers for a long time and what it means to patients.
What really scares me, as I watch all the other warnings and broken promises come true, is what is going to happen to Kansans back home when the warnings about the four rationers come true. Access to quality care will be a thing of the past for Americans.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) resides in Dodge City. He is campaigning for re-election this year. He may be contacted by phone at 202-224-4774.
- Letters to the Editor
‘A lot of people are upset’ at bill
House Bill 2453 is way too broad. Not only would it discriminate against same-sex couples, it could be interpreted to target interracial couples.
Now that it has been voted out of the Kansas House of Representatives, it is now in the Senate, and it will probably take them a couple of weeks to reword things. They are taking their time and revising the things in the bill that are discrimination.
It’s about politics. I expect that the fact that it is an election year will have an effect. Gov. Sam Brownback doesn’t want to totally ostracize the LGBT community, because he wants to be re-elected.
A lot of people are upset at how discriminatory this bill is. We’ve been fighting against this bill, sending testimony against it and soliciting businesses that are really upset about this.
I think the Senate is going to take a step back on the discrimination. We’re not going to know anything specific until the Senate releases a revised bill. We’re still fighting it every day.
It’s still a very hot topic; we’ve made The New York Times, we’ve made Time magazine. People are aware of what’s going on here.
Julie Ellen Gelpke is diversity coordinator for the Kansas National Organization for Women. She lives in Pittsburg.
‘Homosexual activity is immoral’
Those opposed to House Bill 2453, which aims at keeping individuals, groups and businesses in Kansas from being compelled to help with same-sex weddings, evidently haven’t learned from the past.
In a way, weren’t we here a couple thousand years ago?
The ancient and primitive Greeks and Romans crassly valued homosexual relations. Eventually, the people wised up and realized that was a mistake and homosexual activity was again logically deemed unethical and was basically driven underground.
Now, misguided “progressives” are trying to take us back thousands of years to more primitive and decadent times, despite the fact that thinking people have known for centuries that homosexual activity is immoral and a bad legal precedent.
He who has eyes to see, let them see. The “logic” of hetero-phobic homosexuals is rapidly leading this society down a slippery slope to a more and more aberrant, disordered and irrational society.
Polygamy is coming soon. Maybe, down the line, we’ll see “marriage” between straight and homosexual consenting-adult incestuous people.
Anyone who thinks this is progress is deluding themselves. Rome didn’t fall in a day, but it did fall. Let’s not join the race to the bottom.
Wayne Lela is a “pro-family activist” who founded the group Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment. He has lobbied the Kansas State Assembly for House Bill 2453, aka the Religious Freedom Act. The bill is currently under review by the Committee on Judiciary of the Kansas Senate after it was passed on Feb. 12, 72-49, by the Kansas House of Representatives. Lela lives in Downers Grove, Ill.
Accessibility task force created
Student Government Association is always looking into new ways to help improve campus.
SGA recently created a Campus Accessibility Task Force to research and critique the level of accessibility that Pittsburg State’s campus offers its handicapped students.
Types of accessibility features include sidewalk ramps up to building doors, automatic opening doors and handicapped parking spots, among other options.
For the task force, the hope is to bring the possible strengths of Pitt State’s accessibility to the attention of all students.
Further research into this matter could result in a recommendation to the administration of improvements that could be made on campus.
Please contact SGA if you would like to express an opinion or critique of Pitt State’s level of campus accessibility.
Student Government Association is an assembly of student senators led by Taylor Gravett and Kiki Eigenmann.
The president, vice president and senators are elected every April by the student body. The president, with the approval of the senators, then appoints various cabinet and other officers.
The assembly meets at 7 p.m. every Wednesday during the fall and spring semesters in Russ 409. The meetings are open to the public.
SGA’s office is located in the lower level of Overman Student Center, room 121M. It may be contacted at 620-235-4810 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bad bill stalled
Kansas, Arizona avoid catastrophic ‘religious freedom’ legislation, for now; Missouri unwisely weighing same idea
| Staff Editorial |
Again, some of Kansas’ lawmakers have found a way to put the state to shame with a proposal that is so bad it’s appalling that it was ever brought up.
Even if one doesn’t care a whit about same-sex marriage, it should be cause for outrage, both here and in Missouri and Arizona, where similar measures are under consideration.
For now, the few reasonably sane elected officials we have left in Kansas’ government have given pause to this hateful trash, sorrowfully cloaked as a matter of faith.
They actually passed it in Arizona, but now Gov. Jan Brewer has seen sense and used her veto pen on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
A bill was introduced in Missouri on Monday, Feb. 24, because apparently national outrage is attractive in Jefferson City.
All three bills take to a new extreme the same-old, tired argument that if someone has an unconventional sexual orientation, they are an affront to Christian and similar religious teachings.
They use the notion to try to award the right to mistreat, scrutinize and shame homosexual people in almost every sort of public life.
As long as the reason for this conduct can be said to be “religious conviction,” punishments and civil judgments in favor of the victims will be hard to come by under the bills’ terms.
Led by Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, president of the Kansas Senate, many of our legislators have concerted doubts about this idea, even those who otherwise are skeptical about the issue of marriage equality. That, more than anything, shows how bad the bill is.
“A strong majority of (Kansas senators) support laws that define traditional marriage, protect religious institutions and protect individuals from being forced to violate their personal moral values,” Wagle said in an interview with The Wichita Eagle. “However, my members also don’t condone discrimination. If we cannot find ample common ground to ease legitimate concerns, I believe a majority of my caucus will not support the bill.”
As a Republican leader in Kansas, Wagle has to tread carefully, lest the state’s powerful special interests and legion of Topeka morons will demand her head.
Still, this proposal is so awful that she should be relatively safe in keeping it in legislative limbo.
Let there also be no doubt that the whole concept is tainted; some have said that it can work with a few “revisions. No, we must draw the line. The idea that religion can ever justify hatred needs to be checked now.
As we noted in another editorial that was published recently in The Collegio, progress on the issue of same-sex civil rights is happening now and will inevitably continue nationwide.
Let us try not to destroy all sense of decency before that happens here.
- Letters to the Editor
Cold ‘Potter’ nights, warm reception
It was below 10 degrees each night, but we still had students, community members and faculty lining up outside to see Alpha Psi Omega’s production of “A Very Potter Prequel.”
By selling hot chocolate, homemade Harry Potter-themed mugs and scarves and hosting a silent auction for various souvenirs and artwork, Alpha Psi Omega collected nearly $450 and many donated items for the CHOICES shelter. Several backpacks were also donated for the Children’s Advocacy Center.
Thank you very much to everyone who was able to attend our silly little musical, and thank you to The Collegio and Nikki Patrick at The Morning Sun for helping us get the word out about this magical event.
Our only regret is that we were not able to hold the performance more than twice. We hope that with the continued cooperation of the Pittsburg State theater department, Alpha Psi Omega will be able to continue this newfound practice of combining our love of theater with social service.
Next year, we’ll hopefully be able to provide a quality show with various dates in a more comfortable climate.
Thanks again to all for your help and support. Come see the actors who played Harry Potter, Professor Snape, Dumbledore and Yaxley in PSU Theatre’s upcoming show, “An Enemy of the People.” I hope to see you in the audience!
Taylor Patterson-Elliott is Alpha Psi Omega president and a junior in communication. She may be reached at email@example.com.
“An Enemy of the People” will be performed at 8 p.m. from Thursday, Feb. 27, to Saturday, March 1. A final performance is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 2. All performances will be at the Grubbs Studio Theatre.
- Debate of Valentine’s Day
Many know the scene from the movie “I Hate Valentine’s Day,” where, with a bat in her hands and lots of anger in her heart, Jennifer Garner violently destroys a piñata.
Before I came to the United States, I used to think Valentine’s Day was a beautiful holiday enjoyed by all Americans, and that parties with the “I Hate Valentine’s Day” theme were only a movie thing.
Here I am, for the second year, spending the most beautiful holiday of the year – at least in this humble foreigner’s opinion – surrounded by people who just cannot stand it.
Every time I say out loud that Valentine’s Day is coming, someone who hates the holiday comes along to kill my excitement.
No, I’m not here to convince you to love Valentine’s Day. I am here to show you that life can be prettier if you just accept it as a good day, and not a day for cursing or crying, though some of my friends are probably going to spend this Friday night getting drunk and watching “Endless Love.”
Here’s the thing. I am Brazilian. And back home, we don’t have Valentine’s Day.
Our holiday, which happens in June, is a date exclusively for young couples, so if you’re single or married, you’re left out of the celebrations. I can understand why people say they don’t like that.
There’s no reason for such feelings here in the United States, where everyone’s included, though I can understand why some girls who are single can get depressed, especially those who have had bad love experiences in the past.
I believe from the bottom of my heart, having suffered a very rough personal experience myself, that it doesn’t matter what you’ve suffered. Everything will pass.
One day, someone will just hug you so tight and all the broken pieces inside you will be put together again. It took me a while, but I found this person. With a little bit of patience, everyone can.
Americans don’t hug very often, or kiss in public, or even hold hands. We do this a lot in Brazil, and I miss it. My mom makes everyone in the family give at least three hugs a day, and she’s right.
Valentine’s Day is just the best day for hugs. This Friday, hug all the people you like. Forget if you are in a relationship or if you are single; this is not Brazil. Use this day to tell your family, your friends or whomever else you care about how much they mean to you.
Life is about choices. At least this day, choose love. You won’t regret it.
Val Vita is a graduate teaching assistant in communication.
Day of Love?
Do you hate this holiday because it’s too hokey, or maybe you’re just not a cupid, teddy bears and candy type? You’re missing the point.
I would like to think I’m a pretty romantic guy, but I have no doubt that Valentine’s Day has degraded to where its vaunted themes of romance and the value of “true love” don’t mean much to many anymore.
Except on this day, hugging a stranger is as likely to get you in jail or in court as it is to spread romance. Sending a creepy text is considered more in-touch or appropriate than presenting someone with a goofy heart-candy.
For many, the celebration accomplishes little but disappointment and an excuse to waste time and money we might spend doing something a little more meaningful.
We all can recognize this. I’m sure St. Valentine would be horrified by all the temporary and artificial sentiment we throw around on this day, never mind the idea of what a Catholic saint would think about the holiday lingerie business.
I say that it’s time to forget about this single day and apply its purpose to life. We should recognize that the world and all around us are in need of a lot more love.
Whether it is about romance or care for our fellow human beings, love is something that we would do well to encourage for the other 364 days on the calendar. Our failure to do this in some ways has caused a lot of harm that needs to be recognized.
In one of the poorest areas of Kansas, choices have recently been made that put Pittsburg’s homeless shelter at risk of closure and deprived impoverished families of food assistance. The various charities around town all know they can’t make up the difference.
We sure as heck shouldn’t just set aside one day where we can pretend these things are important. We can instead use what Valentine’s Day is supposed to actually be about toward a greater purpose.
This holiday, don’t just buy candy for someone who can get it any day of the week. Be merry if you like, but make it mean something; don’t just say stuff that’s printed on a thousand gift cards a minute.
Express your love and respect for the people around you when you really mean it, and then keep doing it for the rest of the year.
If we all did that, we’d live in a better world, and a “day for love” would be a time to remember what we’ve done, instead of what we should do.
Marcus Clem is a junior in communication.
- Letters to the Editor
Regents violate free speech
Just last month, the Kansas Board of Regents took an unprecedented and overreaching action, and implemented a social media policy that greatly limits free speech for college professors across the state.
The decision was not taken with wide acceptance, or hardly any. Since the decision, governing bodies from within Kansas universities have cried foul. They’ve begun calling for the regents to suspend their social media policy, and rightly so.
The regents have not only disgustingly assaulted Kansas college professors’ freedom of speech, but have embarrassed themselves in the process by offering virtually no defense or justification for their new policy.
It is time that the board recognizes that simply because some speech may be offensive, it is not an invitation for them to inject an unwarranted dictator-style limit on constitutionally protected rights.
The regents should start embracing and supporting university professors across the state and start supporting their right to share their wisdom and opinions.
Sen. Ethan Spurling, member of Student Government Association, is a junior in political science and communication.
GAP slated for fall opening
In the last two weeks, some exciting things have happened involving the Gorilla Assistance Pantry.
The Student Government Association approved a resolution to generously donate $2,200 from the Campus Capital Improvement Fund to our cause. We greatly appreciate its support and thank the SGA for putting us one step closer to opening our doors.
For the remainder of the spring semester, we will be preparing our facility and purchasing materials like shelving and food storage items.
We are also in the early planning stages of more fundraiser projects and hope to grow the Gorilla Assistance Pantry Organization by bringing in new members, as well as looking for volunteers to help us with events. It is no secret that these volunteers will eventually become the backbone of the food pantry.
It is our goal to start serving students by fall 2014, where once again we will rely on the kindness of volunteers for the pantry’s day-to-day operations.
If you want to get involved, go to www.facebook.com/PSUGAP and “like” our page. There, you can get updates about our progress and how you can join.
Sen. Lindsay Ong is a member of the SGA and a senior in biochemistry.
Religious ‘conviction’ on gay marriage
If the State of Kansas recognizes that gay couples may be married, then I wouldn’t have a problem with them receiving benefits. Under law, they are married so why not?
I don’t see it as something to make a huge deal over if gay marriage is already legal anyway.
However, I think that no one should be forced by the government to go along with something that goes against their convictions.
If someone who is a baker or a photographer and by their convictions cannot go along with providing a gay couple services for their wedding, they should not have to.
It’s not discrimination. They just cannot go along with something they believe is wrong. Gay couples in this situation can easily find services somewhere else.
Cayla Probert is a senior in graphic communications.
- Denial-of-service attack
Assembly should finish off harmful anti-competition bill
| Staff Editorial |
Once again, forces in Topeka are acting to pin Kansas beneath common-sense standards. This time, they’ve moved against a plan that, unhindered, could eventually give millions of Kansans a big leg up for the 21st century.
In short, special interests introduced a bill that would have made it illegal for cities statewide to independently install a modern broadband Internet infrastructure or to contract with a company to do this.
That would leave such an upgrade, plainly a boon to any community, entirely at the telecom industry’s discretion. Cities like Pittsburg would be all but banned from using public resources to arrange their own broadband upgrades.
It’s quite clear where this came from: Google’s partnership with Kansas City and its suburbs to install a network called Google Fiber that will give basic broadband service to all residents for free and offer competitive pricing for state-of-the-art service.
Companies such as Cox Communications and Charter, which provide most high-speed Internet services to Southeast Kansas, are invested heavily in the status quo; broadband comes to an area according to their corporate goals and they have broad leeway in setting prices and service options.
What they’ve apparently decided to do is akin to a bar owner, fearful of a new competitor, demanding passage of a new law that bans alcohol and loud music but doesn’t affect his or her own place.
The lobbyists seem to have a low opinion of legislators’ ability for critical thought – hard to imagine where that idea came from – but they’ve been unable to avoid angering a lot of people who like competition and freedom.
“Our feeling is that this is an anti-competitive bill,” said Rep. Julie Menghini, D-Pittsburg, in an interview with The Collegio. She was referring to conversations she has had with some of her colleagues in the Kansas House of Representatives.
“This bill is an attack on competition, an attack on municipal government,” said Larry Gates, utilities director for the city of Chanute, according to The Wichita Eagle. His city has built a successful municipal broadband network of its own.
“I cannot tell you how bad this legislation would be for broadband in Kansas,” said Joshua Montgomery, owner-operator of Lawrence’s Wicked Broadband, in a Facebook post. “It will make Kansas the laughingstock of the US and will restrict competition to the lesser of ‘who cares.’”
Google, itself, joined with several regional utility companies and other businesses to publish an open letter condemning the bill.
“This bill will harm both the public and private sectors,” the letter reads, “stifle economic growth, prevent the creation or retention of thousands of jobs, hamper workforce development and diminish the quality of life in Kansas.”
Feeling the heat, the bill’s supporters have asked for the Kansas Senate to postpone its initial hearing, which had been set for Tuesday, Feb. 4, to “revise” the language.
It’s ridiculous that a private-sector lobby could push this self-interested, misguided legislation through the State Assembly at all. Any further efforts on their part should be taken with skepticism.
Ideally, legislators will take their hands off the hot stove for good.
- Letter to the Editor
Sochi a milestone of Russian success
Everybody is looking forward to the winter Olympic Games in Russia, especially me.
I am going to support the Russian sportsmen from here in the United States. The excitement of the public is particularly high, not because of the games but rather because of the preparations, which are really impressive.
It is really incredible to see the amount of work that was done in so short a time. It makes me proud of my country.
The construction of the sports complex in Sochi, a famous Russian tourist resort on the shores of the Black Sea, was planned back in Soviet times. Its realization was prevented by the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.
After over two decades under the supervision of Russian President Vladimir Putin, it became a reality. Now, thanks to the Olympic Games, we have a huge tourist ski resort – by the way, it’s the first of its kind in Russia – that is located just a 30-minute drive from the sea.
To be honest, I feel so jealous of the people who are going to be there during the Olympics, because it is going to be really exciting.
Don’t forget to support your country in the Olympics and make sure to visit Sochi someday, where you will be able to ski and lie in the sun at the beach on the same day.
Yulia Senkiv is a Fulbright scholar graduate assistant from Irkutsk, Russia and an instructor of Russian language.
The failings of Obamacare are painfully clear from loss of coverage to increased premiums, but the secrecy in the law raises serious moral and ethical issues.
Pro-life Americans oppose the use of their money to cover abortion services, but as current law is written, it is difficult to obtain information about which exchange plans provide such services.
I have introduced legislation, S. 1848, requiring this information to be prominently disclosed so consumers can make informed decisions. My bill also requires disclosure of the amount of the “abortion fee,” a surcharge required to develop a fund to pay for abortion on demand.
Kansans have a right to know what they are paying for so that they can choose an insurance plan that meets their needs, values and beliefs.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, resides in Dodge City. He is campaigning for re-election this year. He may be contacted by phone at 202-224-4774.
CHOICES benefit performance
Each semester, Pittsburg State’s national honor society Alpha Psi Omega donates funds or supplies to a local charity in order to reach out to the community.
Last year, I was the project’s director of funds, but I have since been elected president of the student organization. My fellow officers and I decided we were going to try to re-create the success we had from last year’s production of “A Very Potter Musical.”
After all, with the help of the Pittsburg community and The Collegio, last year we raised more than $900 for the Children’s Advocacy Center with three sold-out performances.
I can’t thank The Collegio enough for the wonderful publicity it gave us for our project. Because of the show’s success, we are able to put on another production this semester.
The show we as a student organization decided to produce this year is the viral hit “A Very Potter Sequel” by Brian Holden, Matt Lang, and Nick Lang, with music by Darren Criss.
The show is a sequel (although, more of a prequel) to the parody of the “Harry Potter” books by J.K. Rowling that we performed last year.
After the Southeast Kansas Community Action Program suffered huge budget cuts this past month, we as an organization voted to contribute all cash profits to the CHOICES Shelter that serves homeless families in Pittsburg.
We hope to get the publicity we need to make this show another hit and to continue to put on plays to benefit the community.
Taylor Patterson is a junior in communication. “A Very Potter Sequel” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, and Thursday, Feb. 6, in the Grubbs Studio Theatre.
At 6 p.m. each night, a limited number of advance tickets will be sold for $20 or a donation of a new backpack to the Children’s Advocacy Center. “Harry Potter” merchandise and refreshments will also be sold. At 7 p.m., free tickets will be distributed until the venue is sold out.
- Regents endanger rights on social media
The state’s governing body of higher education has used one professor’s words to justify action that is an ill-advised overreach, at best.
Why did they do this?
The move to adopt a policy that allows Kansas Board of Regents universities to regulate their employees’ expression on social media came after David Guth, associate professor of journalism at the University of Kansas (KU), posted a controversial message on Twitter in September 2013.
Guth might have been a little extreme, but the Regents are completely out of line.
With the appointment of officials on Jan. 17 from Pittsburg State and its five sister institutions, steps have been taken toward what we hope will be a reversal of this policy that constitutes a bald-faced infringement of free-speech rights.
If the Regents will not act, it is imperative that a third party take immediate action.
It’s hard to understand why this policy made it into the books as written.
“The chief executive officer of a state university has the authority,” it reads, “to suspend, dismiss or terminate from employment any faculty or staff member who makes improper use of social media.”
It includes several provisions defining “improper use.”
Few will object to the restrictions limiting posts that incite violence and expose confidential student information, but one section is alarming.
It permits administrators to restrict social media in the “best interests of the university” without defining exactly what that means. Essentially, they now have free rein to restrict speech based on their subjective judgment alone.
Must faculty toe the line?
Posts that criticize Gov. Sam Brownback’s policies or actions by the state legislature may not be perceived as under the umbrella of a university’s “best interests.”
What happens when a state official complains about some
political commentary on a professor’s Twitter feed? How much latitude does the university have in restricting the author? Can that person’s job be threatened? That is all suspiciously unclear.
It should be a founding principle of all educational institutions to allow speech, even confrontational or insensitive speech, to be as unregulated as possible.
That ought to apply even just within the classroom; this policy extends outside of it, to the entire world.
In creating the policy, the regents have stifled the freedom of public employees for fear of what they may say. The result is a restriction of a basic right in academia, which should promote the sharing of ideas above all else.
The regents need to realize that while unchecked use of social media may have its occasional casualties, the protection of free speech is worth the cost.
This editorial is co-written by Marcus Clem, Collegio editor, and Kathleen Martin, editor of Wichita State’s Sunflower, and is cross-published in The Collegio and The Sunflower.
- New semester, new challenges
On behalf of the Student Government Association, we are so excited to welcome you all back for the spring semester. There are numerous events and projects happening around campus that are going to make this semester one of the best yet.
In just a few months, ground will be broken for the planned renovations at Overman Student Center. Pittsburg State’s new state-of-the-art indoor-event facility plans will also see the start of construction.
These projects will continue to set Pitt State apart from other institutions in our region and nation.
This semester, SGA and the administration will be lobbying in Topeka for an increase in higher education funding. Higher ed plays a major role in workforce participation, employment and one’s own personal advancement.
The legislature needs to realize that in order for Kansas to thrive, and to prevent people from moving away, a well-balanced, well-funded education system ought to be a cornerstone of the state’s public services.
We are confident that our message is going to be resonant with lawmakers. Hopefully, we can get higher ed funding back on the right path.
Aside from helping the administration with its projects, SGA has been working hard on its own projects as well. We are so happy to announce that the Axe Library is extending its hours after nearly two years of work toward that goal.
This is major news, and is only the first step in what we hope will eventually become a 24/7-access library. The leadership from those in SGA and the library really made this project a reality.
Every semester at Pitt State seems to be better than the last, and this semester is sure to be no different. Go Gorillas!
Taylor Gravett is the SGA president. He may be contacted at SGA’s office in the lower level of Overman Student Center; by phone at 620-235-4811; and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of my job duties as legislative affairs director of the Student Government Association (SGA) is to be the liaison between students here on campus and our elected officials at the local and state levels.
I want to take this time to share with students an attempted new change in the social media policy for Kansas public universities.
In September, a professor at the University of Kansas was put on indefinite leave for posting a controversial tweet in response to the Washington Navy Yard shootings that claimed 13 lives.
Three months later, the Kansas Board of Regents last month unanimously passed a policy that allows university leaders the right to fire employees for making an inappropriate social media post.
I had not even made it back to Pittsburg from Topeka, where I observed the session of the regents where this policy was adopted, before the decision had sparked national debate.
Many university employees expressed concern about their rights to free speech under the First Amendment.
They wonder, why did the regents do this without giving much notice and without university input? This has now led the regents to decide to revisit the newly approved policy; they’ve formed a workgroup with representatives from each university.
Now that we know what is going on, where do we go from here?
Should university employees be monitored on social media? Should their rights to free speech be taken away from them for the well-being of the university?
The answer is no. While I understand the concept behind this policy, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. The thought of policing university employees for their social media usage blows my mind.
If the entire reason for this policy is the greater good of the university, what stops the regents from targeting students for their social media posts, which may do just as much damage if not more than the posts of a university employee?
The debate over this policy is far from over. I am very eager to see what will happen in the upcoming months. If you have any questions or concerns, please stop by the SGA office and visit with me.
Tadd Lucian is the SGA legislative affairs director; he is also a senior in communication.