NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY


  December 24, 2013

Kansas Board of Regents Undermine Academic Freedom at State Universities


Bill Black: Draconian measure enacted by Kansas Board of Regents that effectively ends tenure and limits academic freedom could be replicated at colleges nationwide
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   


Audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



I support the Real News because without The Real News we would have no real news at all. - WWH
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


biography

William K. Black, author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC). He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He has taught previously at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and at Santa Clara University, where he was also the distinguished scholar in residence for insurance law and a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Black was litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, deputy director of the FSLIC, SVP and general counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and senior deputy chief counsel, Office of Thrift Supervision. He was deputy director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement.

Black developed the concept of "control fraud" frauds in which the CEO or head of state uses the entity as a "weapon." Control frauds cause greater financial losses than all other forms of property crime combined. He recently helped the World Bank develop anti-corruption initiatives and served as an expert for OFHEO in its enforcement action against Fannie Mae's former senior management.


transcript

Kansas Board of Regents Undermine Academic Freedom at State 
UniversitiesJAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jaisal Noor in Baltimore. And welcome to this latest edition of The Black Financial and Fraud Report.

We're now joined by Bill Black. He's an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He's a white-collar criminologist, former financial regulator, author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, and a regular contributor to The Real News.

So, Bill, what do you have for us this week?

BILL BLACK, ASSOC. PROF. ECONOMICS AND LAW, UMKC: Got a slightly different one. It's why I would be fired if I were a mile to the west, in terms of where I worked, in our neighbors in Kansas.

So the background is that Kansas has gone way beyond red in the red/blue state division. It's now an infrared state. And the Republican Party has become a party, in Kansas, of cannibals, in which they eat their own and only the absolute most extreme folks are allowed to stay in office.

In the midst of all of this, a professor at what--it's called KU, the University of Kansas, did an angry and very intemperate Tweet in connection with the Navy Yard's attack by the disgruntled employee, that criticized heavily the NRA and such.

And the state legislature in Kansas went crazy because they love guns. And, in fact, one of their priorities is changing the rules and the law so that people can have concealed weapons in universities, in the classrooms and in the dorms, with the drunken frat parties and all those good types of things. And so criticizing the NRA was really bad.

And the state--these were top people in the state legislature--were demanding that the professor be fired. But, of course, he was tenured and they couldn't fire him. And this was intolerable. So the Kansas regents, who run all the universities, public universities in Kansas, have just with no real discussion and no involvement of faculty, effectively ended tenure for faculty and academic freedom. They adopted right near the holidays, the last meeting, with minimum publicity a rule that purports to apply to social media, but when you read "social media", it turns out that anything posted online in written form or on YouTube is, quote-unquote, use of social media. And as modern academics, we put almost all the things we write online, so essentially everything we do.

And it says that the CEO--and by the way, it calls the president of these universities CEOs. And there's no pretense that they believe in tenure. There's no pretense they believe in academic freedom or vigorous debate or any of that stuff. This is the business model of the University, and the CEO is the boss, and the professors work for the boss, and they're supposed to do what the boss tells them.

So under this new provision, if the boss, the CEO, gets upset with anything you do and decides that it is contrary to the best interests of the University, he can fire you. But not to worry: you get to file a grievance, which is decided by him. Alright?

And other provisions say that they can fire the professors if they say or do anything that gets in the way of the efficiency of the university or the harmony of the university. It's very zen, kind of strange for evangelical Christians, but hey.

And all of these provisions are designed and are going to have the effect of chilling any controversial statements, so the kind, you know, that I make all the time about people who could be potentially large donors to the universities.

You can also be fired, by the way, if you're simply arrested for a felony, even though you're not convicted, in fact, were found innocent of the charges, and there's no provision for reinstating you in those circumstances. Either they can just fire you if you, say, go to a protest and get arrested by the police and the police decided to overcharge it as a felony originally--boom you're out of there as a potential faculty member. So I've got a couple of articles already explaining how this works. And it's clear that they adopted the most draconian provision their lawyers told them they could get away with.

NOOR: Hey, Bill, so is their fear that this, you know, draconian measure, as you called it, blow to academic freedom, will be adopted in other universities across the country?

BLACK: Yes. Kansas is the home, in many ways, of the Koch brothers, who are, of course, behind ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, that does all of the ultra right wing legislation. And there is every reason to fear that Kansas is simply the trial bed, and that if they get away with it in Kansas, they'll try to do this in every state.

NOOR: Now, so, what's the response been at the University? I assume the faculty belongs to a union. Has there been an official--any reaction? Or what's the next steps?

BLACK: Well, you assume incorrectly, because, in fact, unions are quite rare in academia. But there is AAUP, an association of university professors. They have come out against it. There's the Facebook page at Kansas University, University of Kansas, in which opponents are bringing together their arguments.

But as I say, this is something they deliberately dropped just before the holidays and scampered out of town because they knew it was going to be so controversial. And again, it is so vague--notice the statement you make as a professor of that the CEO can fire you for, A) it can be true, right? There can be no dispute that the statement you made is true. There can be no dispute that you made the statement in all good intent to try to make the world better and even to help your University.

It doesn't matter. And there is no standard--or at least there's no meaningful standard--because it's whatever the CEO decides would change the harmony or the efficiency or the best interest of the school. So there's no way of knowing what statement you could make or not make that could get you fired.

And, of course, putting my legal hat on, that's precisely why First Amendment jurisprudence says that you can't have these vague standardless standards, because you will chill an enormous amount of speech. And, of course, speech at the universities is precisely where it's supposed to be most vigorous and open.

NOOR: Well, Bill, this certainly is alarming, and we'll keep following this story. Thank you so much for that report.

BLACK: Thank you.

NOOR: You can follow us @therealviews on Twitter, Tweet me questions and comments. Thank you so much for joining us.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

'The Law Has Always Been in the Favor of Law Enforcement'
Officer Edward Nero Found Not Guilty of All Charges Over Death of Freddie Gray
Unions and the Sanders/Clinton Split
Bernie Sanders and the Widening Political Spectrum
Austria Narrowly Elects Former Green Party Leader as President, Avoids Far-Right Candidate
The Empire Files: 100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats
By Ignoring Fossil Fuel Extraction, the Paris Agreement is Doomed to Failure
The Occupation of the American Mind - RAI with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (3/3)
Erdogan Targeting the 59 Pro-Kurdish HDP Parliamentarians with 445 Police Investigations
Climate Change-Fueled Droughts Pushing Africa to the Brink
The Financial Invasion of Greece
The Occupation of the American Mind - RAI with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (2/3)
Judge to Hand Down First Verdict in Freddie Gray Case on Monday
Move to Amend and the Fight to Remove Corporate Money From U.S. Elections
Baltimore Activists Defend Tubman House Against Threats of Demolition
The Occupation of the American Mind - RAI with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (1/3)
Ultra-Nationalist Avigdor Lieberman Accepts Post as Defense Minister of Israel
Sanders and Class Struggle in the Democratic Party
Baltimore Public Defender: Questionable Arrests Still Clog the Court System
Wilkerson on Heightened Tensions in the South China Sea
The Real News of the Day - May 19, 2016
How One Arrest Could Change the Culture of Policing in Baltimore
#FreddieGray Case Spurs Activism and Action in Baltimore Classrooms
Successful Swiss Addiction Treatment Program Ignored by U.S. Congress
Washington, D.C. Echoes a Growing Call to #KeepItInTheGround
Col. Wilkerson: All War Games Between China and US Lead to Nuclear Attacks
The Real News of the Day - May 18, 2016
Republicans Would Rather Lose the 2016 Election than Win with Donald Trump
Rage, Rebellion, Revolution: The Left Forum 2016
How Far Will the Sanders Insurgency Go?

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting