It may be Kansas, but
…that doesn’t mean they’re crazy. The outrageous social media policy the Board of Regents enacted right before winter break could not stand. The Chronicle of Higher Ed’s News Wire notes today that the Regents will be meeting to reconsider. Good. As someone born in Kansas and a Wichita State Alum (BA) who used the superb educational foundation gained from that institution to go on to a MFA and a PhD from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, I hoped they would think it over. It was a good time to say oops. Remember, K-State (my daughter got her BFA there) is the university that is so proud to have faculty like Michael Wesch. This simply could not be. Many faculty would stay at their tenured positions, and not every faculty member does research. However, the cutting-edge faculty, the ones doing the truly important work related to communication, media, or yes, even the sciences, would be out as fast as this dicey job market would let them.
When this story came out, I wrote on Facebook that as a Kansan born and bred, I am used to strange, even radical political shifts. Kansas was founded by strong, freethinking people who didn’t mind a challenge. However, this is not the legislature; this is not about Republicans vs moderate Republicans (not that many Democrats in Kansas). This move by the Kansas Board of Regents is about negating the fundamental ability to research. Academic freedom for faculty may be annoying at times, but without it, research will degrade to what Isaac Asimov depicted in his famous book, Foundation–perusing what came before, with successful research being the best description of the past: “We consider the greatest end of science is the classification of past data. It is important, but is there no further work to be done? We’re receding and forgetting, don’t you see?” the character Salvor Hardin pleads, “Don’t you see? It’s Galaxy-wide. It’s a worship of the past. It’s a deterioration—a stagnation!” Please, Kansas, support freedom again. Let’s hope the Board of Regents do the right thing and remember how Kansas history weighs in on the side of freedom.
Citations from Kindle.
Asimov, Isaac (2004-06-01). Foundation (Foundation Novels) (Kindle Locations 1012-1013). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Asimov, Isaac (2004-06-01). Foundation (Foundation Novels) (Kindle Locations 1008-1009). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.