Adult Education

F. Other Governance Issues

Article Index

a. Legislative Appearances and Committee Hearings

State university employees should make every effort to accommodate legislative committee requests to provide expert testimony on proposed legislation.  The university shall notify the Board President and Chief Executive Officer of the invitation.

b. Legislative Requests and Proposed Legislation (Also see FISCAL MANAGEMENT AND BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION)

i. All requests for funds, programs, changes in legislation and new legislation affecting the Board and system institutions shall be submitted to the Board for consideration no later than the November meeting of the Board.  Emergency situations may warrant special exceptions, but to the extent possible, no request for legislation during the ongoing legislative session shall be submitted after the March meeting of the Board.  Requests for funds, programs, changes in legislation and new legislation that are approved by the Board shall be included in the Board’s annual legislative proposals.  Requests that are not approved by the Board shall not be submitted to the Legislature for introduction.

ii. Once approval has been granted, all institutions are authorized to work for these requests and each institution is expected to support the entire request.  Conversely, all institutions are prohibited from requesting or working for additional legislation or funds.

iii. When legislation having an effect on the operation of the higher education system, proposed by someone or some group other than the Board, is brought to the Board’s attention, it shall be the responsibility of the Board to make a decision as to whether the position of the system is that of support, non support, or opposition.

c. Legislative Post Audit Reports

i. Each state university, upon receiving notification from the Legislative Division of Post Audit that a performance or financial audit of the university is to be conducted, shall forward such notification to the Board President and Chief Executive Officer.  Each state university shall submit a written report to the Board, in accordance with the schedule maintained on the Board of Regents’ website, detailing progress during the preceding calendar year toward implementation of accepted Post Audit recommendations.  This report shall be made on an annual basis until all accepted recommendations have been fully implemented.

ii. Discussion of pending or anticipated Legislative Post Audits shall be a standing item on the Board’s Fiscal Affairs and Audit Committee agenda.

d. Information Requests from Other State Agencies

i. System-wide Requests:  Requests directed to state universities for system-wide information from other state agencies or other branches of state government shall be transmitted through the Board office.  State universities receiving requests directly from other state agencies or branches of state government shall advise the requesting party of this policy and advise the Board office of the request.  When time is not sufficient to allow transmission of responses through the Board office, responses may be submitted directly to the requesting party with copies to the Board office.

ii. University-Specific Requests:  Responses to requests received by a state university for information related specifically to that university may be sent directly to the requesting party, with a copy to the Board office.

e. Attorney General Opinions

Any state university or state university official wishing to seek an opinion from the Attorney General shall do so by making a request through the office of the General Counsel of the Board.

f. Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission Opinions

Any state university or state university official wishing to seek an opinion from the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission shall do so by making a request through the office of the General Counsel of the Board.

Actions by faculty, staff, students or visitors that unnecessarily or unreasonably obstruct or interfere with the teaching, research or learning functions or other normal and necessary activities of a state university, or that create an imminent threat of danger to persons or property, may constitute grounds for restitution, suspension, dismissal or termination, for permanent exclusion from the campus or any part thereof. 

Interference with the conduct of the institution shall include, but not be limited to, actions by faculty, staff, students or visitors that violate any statutory, administrative, or regulatory provision that could subject the university to any sanction under any federal or state law, regulation, or policy, or to any potential or actual loss of accreditation.

Opportunities to gain experience within a diverse environment and to develop appreciation of multiculturalism are considered to be important elements of the educational experience for all students.  An emphasis on multiculturalism and diversity should foster an atmosphere within the university which recognizes and celebrates both the similarities and differences among all persons to create a collegiate community which reflects the world community and which provides a wide range of role models for students.  The focus of responsibility for the design of educational experiences, including multicultural experiences, resides with each institution.

The Board of Regents believes and supports the view that every individual has the right to expect that all decisions with reference to employment, i.e. selection, discipline, promotion or termination, and all decisions with reference to student status, i.e. admission, academic achievements and discipline, be made without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, physical handicap or disability, status as a Vietnam Era Veteran, sexual orientation or other factors which cannot be lawfully considered, to the extent specified by applicable federal and state laws.  To this end, each state university shall develop and maintain an equal employment opportunity, equal educational opportunity and non-discrimination policy in the operation and administration of all University programs and services.

Notwithstanding the above, and in accordance with K.S.A. 73-201 et seq., and amendments thereto, positive consideration in hiring decisions shall be given to Vietnam Era Veterans for whom that law applies.

Further, each state university shall establish a comprehensive affirmative action program designed to provide equal employment and educational opportunities as required and allowed by law.

Unlawful harassment cannot and will not be tolerated at state universities.  Each state university shall develop and maintain specific policies that seek to: (i) identify prohibited conduct in this area; (ii) educate campus constituencies with regard to this negative behavior; (iii) eliminate such behavior; and (iv) set forth the manner in which such behaviors or conduct is to be addressed.

a. Commitment to Academic Freedom and First Amendment

The Kansas Board of Regents strongly supports principles of academic freedom.  It highly values the work of state university faculty members.  Academic freedom protects their work and enhances the valuable service they provide to the people of Kansas.

The Board also supports this statement from the 1940 Statement of Principles of the American Association of University Professors:

“College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution.  When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations.  As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances.  Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.”

Further, the Kansas Board of Regents recognizes the First Amendment rights as well as the responsibilities of all employees, including faculty and staff, to speak on matters of public concern as private citizens, if they choose to do so, including through social media.  In general, for both faculty and staff, any communication via social media that is protected by the First Amendment and that is otherwise permissible under the law is not precluded by this policy.

This policy shall be construed and applied in a manner that is consistent with the First Amendment and academic freedom principles.

b. Social Media Policy

In keeping with the Kansas Board of Regents’ commitment to the First Amendment and principles of academic freedom, the Board supports the responsible use of existing and emerging communications technologies, including social media, to serve the teaching, research, and public service missions of the state universities. These communications technologies are powerful tools for advancing state university missions, but at the same time pose risks of substantial harm to personal reputations and to the efficient operation of the higher education system. The Board therefore believes it is prudent to adopt this policy on the proper – and improper – use of social media.

1. For purposes of this policy: “Social media” means any online tool or service through which virtual communities are created allowing users to publish commentary and other content, including but not limited to blogs, wikis, and social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube;  “social media” does not include e-mail sent to a known and finite number of individuals, or non-social sharing or networking platforms such as Listserv and group or team collaboration worksites.

2.  Authorship of content on social media in accordance with commonly accepted professional standards and in compliance with all applicable las and university and Board policies shall not be considered an improper use of social media in the following contexts:

i. academic research or other scholarly activity;

ii. academic instruction within the instructor's area of expertise; and

iii. statements, debate, or expressions made as part of shared governance and in accordance with university policies and processes, whether made by a group or individual employee.

3. The United States Supreme Court has held that public employers generally have authority to discipline their employees for speech in a number of circumstances, including but not limited to speech that:

i. is directed to inciting or producing imminent violence or other breach of the peace and is likely to incite or produce such action;

ii. when made pursuant to (i.e. in furtherance of) the employee’s official duties, is contrary to the best interests of the employer;

iii. discloses without lawful authority any confidential student information, protected health care information, personnel records, personal financial information, or confidential research data; or

iv. subject to the balancing analysis required by the following paragraph, impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers, has a detrimental impact on close working relationships for which personal loyalty and confidence are necessary, impedes the performance of the speaker’s official duties, interferes with the regular operation of the employer, or otherwise adversely affects the employer's ability to efficiently provide services.

In determining whether an employee’s communication is actionable under subparagraph iv, the interest of the employer in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees must be balanced against the employee’s right as a citizen to speak on matters of public concern.

4. When determining whether a particular use of social media constitutes an improper use, the following shall be considered: academic freedom principles referenced in subsection b.2., the employee’s position within the university, whether the employee used or publicized the university name, brands, website, official title or school/department/college or otherwise created the appearance of the communication being endorsed, approved or connected to the university in a manner that discredits the university, whether the communication was made during the employee’s working hours and whether the communication was transmitted utilizing university systems or equipment.

5. The chief executive officer of a state university, or the chief executive officer's delegate, has the authority to make use of progressive discipline measures pursuant to Board or university policy, up to and including suspension, dismissal and termination, with respect to any faculty or non-student staff member who is found to have made an improper use of social media. Existing university grievance and review processes shall apply to any such action.

c. Application of policy

This policy on the use of social media shall be construed and applied in a manner that is consistent with the First Amendment and academic freedom principles and shall apply prospectively from the date of its original adoption by the Kansas Board of Regents on December 18, 2013.

The Kansas Board of Regents recognizes that academic freedom must be balanced by academic responsibility.  Therefore, it is the policy of the Kansas Board of Regents to require each institution within its jurisdiction to adopt the following set of precepts on the use of sexually explicit materials, the teaching about pedophilia and the conduct and management of courses relative to these topics:

“Students are entitled to an atmosphere conducive to learning and to even-handed treatment in all aspects of the teacher-student relationship.  Faculty members may not refuse to enroll or teach students on the grounds of their beliefs or the possible uses to which they may put the knowledge to be gained in a course.  Students should not be forced by the authority inherent in the instructional role to make particular personal choices as to political action or their own social behavior.  Evaluation of students and the award of credit must be based on academic performance professionally judged and not on matters irrelevant to that performance, whether personality, race, religion, degree of political activism, or personal beliefs.

It is the mastery teachers have of their subjects and their own scholarship that entitles them to their classrooms and to freedom in the presentation of their subjects.  Thus, it is improper for an instructor persistently to intrude material that has no relation to the subject, or to fail to present the subject matter of the course as announced to the students and as approved by the faculty in their collective responsibility for the curriculum.”*

Each state university will ensure that existing policy governing sexual harassment is accessible for the purpose of addressing such issues as they might arise from course content or pedagogy.  Campus policies on sexual harassment and on the use of sexually explicit materials in instruction will be placed on file with the Kansas Board of Regents.  (2003 Session Laws of Kansas, Chapter 160, Section 45(b).

* Source:  Excerpted from the AAUP’s 1970 Statement on Freedom and Responsibility

The purpose of this policy is to outline specific ways, reflective of each university’s resource constraints and environmental impacts, in which state universities may be able to enhance their service to Kansans as well as their leadership in addressing these challenges both on campus and, though their extensive contacts and relationships, throughout Kansas and the world.

a. Policy Statement

University policies, practices and programs should, when possible, embody approaches that reduce life cycle costs, restore or maintain the functioning of natural systems, and enhance human well-being.

For purposes of this policy provision, sustainability shall mean societal efforts to meet the needs of present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  Sustainability presumes that the planet’s resources are finite, and should be used conservatively, wisely and equitably. 

b. Implementation Principles

i. Learning Opportunities:  State universities shall incorporate issues of sustainability into the learning experiences of students throughout their academic experiences.

ii. Campus Life:  State universities shall strive to infuse sustainability principles into the organization of campus life.  This includes encouraging students, faculty and staff to:

(1) Minimize their environmental impact,

(2) Enhance campus ecology,

(3) Develop and foster awareness and campus culture that recognizes the importance of sustainability principles,

(4) Enhance/facilitate access to environmental and ecological goods, and

(5) Carry these lifestyles with them when they leave the campus community.

iii. Operations:  State universities shall comply with all relevant environmental laws and regulations and executive orders from the Governor, and aspire to go beyond compliance by integrating values of sustainability, stewardship, and resource conservation into activities and services.  As operational decisions are made, university personnel should consider ways to improve the long-term quality and regenerative capacity of the environmental, social and economic system that support the institutional activities and needs and promote practices that minimize harmful effects of operations on the surrounding environment.  State universities shall strive to maximize the efficiencies of operations and services while pursuing the goals detailed above within the resources available to institutions as they pursue excellence in fulfilling institutional missions.

iv. Campus Planning:  State universities shall evaluate the impact of their construction projects; incorporate green building and design methods to the extent economically feasible; and consider the impact of planning decisions on future generations of the campus community, with the goal of minimizing the environmental footprint.

v. Administration:  State universities shall develop sustainability goals to inform institutional policies and procedures.  These policies and procedures shall rely on scientific and technical analysis, informed by economic realities of funding, to support efforts to develop objectives and targets for operations with indicators, or measures to assure accountability to the Board.  Whenever economically feasible, sustainability shall be included in areas of planning, decision-making, assessment, and reporting.

vi. Outreach:  State universities shall conscientiously share the knowledge, awareness, and expertise generated by their engagement with sustainability in accordance with their respective missions and roles in serving society as a whole.

 1See Chapter I., Section A.3. for definition of Governance