ICSR to host free speech forum


WKU students have an opportunity to make their voices heard regarding the social media controversy that earned national media attention at the end of February.

WKU’s Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility is hosting a forum entitled “#FreeSpeech? Social Media at WKU” at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Garrett Conference Center, Room 109. The forum is part of the ICSR’s monthly “Third Tuesday Tea” discussion series.

The university’s monitoring of social media, along with a policy in the student handbook about “inappropriate” communication, led some First Amendment experts to say WKU may be on unconstitutional ground. WKU officials, on the other hand, said it is not the university’s goal to police Twitter, but to “offer some amount of protection” to students

Terry Shoemaker, program coordinator for the ICSR, said that the event is for “students and staff to have open communication on a contemporary topic.”

“By choosing this topic, the ICSR does not have a view point on this issue,” Shoemaker said. “This is to give both students and faculty a chance to interact on this issue.”

Shoemaker said the discussion panel has yet to be solidified and that ICSR is still in need of an administrative representative. So far, the panel consists of an SGA representative and faculty members.

Jeffrey Budziak, assistant professor of political science, is one of the faculty panelists.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity for all members of the university community to sit down together to engage in a constructive discussion of social media policies,” Budziak said.

He said he hopes that this forum will provide “the opportunity to bring these two groups together to engage in an open dialogue [that] has been lacking.”