Brickbat: Freedom Is All Academic


Chicago State University has banned all communication between faculty and the media without prior approval from the school's public relations office. The policy requires professors to seek approval for interviews, but also opinion pieces, newsletters, and social media communications. Those who violate the policy face disciplinary action, including being fired.

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  1. Employees who violate the new policy could lose their jobs, according to a copy of the rules obtained by the Tribune.

    But I have tenure!

    1. I was going to say, finally, a way to fire someone.

  2. How else can the University do its job of spreading knowledge if it can’t stop its employees contradicting them.

  3. In an email sent March 22 to faculty and staff, Sabrina Land, the university’s director of marketing and communications, wrote that all communications must be “strategically deployed” in a way that “safeguards the reputation, work product and ultimately, the students, of CSU.”

    I tried to write a joke, but it’s still not funnier than the quote.

    1. so “strategically deployed” is the new and improved euphemism for spin? I have been in communication for a long time and the biggest truism is that the audience is a hell of a lot smarter than the practitioners believe it is. Just tell people the truth; they CAN handle it, Col Nathan Jessup be damned.

    2. The reputation of CSU is so low I don’t know why anyone would want to safeguard it. It’s nothing but a diploma mill, formerly known as Chicago Teachers College.

  4. Social media?

    Seriously? The profs are going to have to get approval to update their facebook page?

    1. – This tweet has been approved by CSU PR.

      1. The provost likes this!

  5. Why is this a brickbat? If people don’t like the policy, they should go work somewhere else.

    1. Bureaucrats are frequent brickbat targets.

    2. Possibly because its a State University and there is something written somewhere that says that the government can’t restrict speech or something like that.

      1. And besides all that, it doesn’t matter. Just because a libertarian believes an employer has the right to its own policies doesn’t mean they’re above criticism.

        1. For some reason some people can’t distinguish between “you aren’t allowed to do that” and “I think you shouldn’t do that”.

        2. “Just because a libertarian believes an employer has the right to its own policies doesn’t mean they’re above criticism.”

          Yes. Yes it does.

          1. No. No, it doesn’t.

    3. it’s a brickbat because it is stupid. Professors are generally not interviewed for their views on administration policy; they tend to be interviewed for their knowledge of certain fields. In virtually every case, having a faculty member deemed as the resident expert of whatever given topic a news story covers is a win for the school.

  6. Great oppo for griefing administration with a DOS attack.

    Just flood the provost’s office with requests to post your vacation photos on facebook, send a tweet praising Obama, basically every single trivial thing you do on social media.

    1. The provost’s office will then ask for a 6,000% budget increase. And they’ll get it.

  7. I don’t know of too many large corporations who do not have a similar policy regarding their employees.

  8. This is probably being driven by the risk management office, who are worried that the university will be sued by someone who is defamed (or think they are being defamed) by a random Facebook post by some employee. Since I write IT policy at Wayne I’ve been asked to devise just such a policy. I’m still thinking about it.
    I think Chicago State is unionized and I suspect any administrator actually proposing this policy will probably lose body parts if the union notices. I have problems with faculty unions (I’m not a member of ours) but they do have their uses…

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