UPDATED: Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the amendment that could have stripped $3.1 million from the University of Kansas’ School of Social Work if materials used in one of its classes were determined to be obscene. The governor said she was vetoing the proviso because it was “an inappropriate use of legislative powers designed to impinge upon academic freedom in the state of Kansas.”
Today the National Coalition Against Censorship and other free expression organizations sent a letter to Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius urging her to line-veto an amendment to the 2003/04 Kansas State budget that would eliminate funding for the School of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas, as well as for any academic unit that purchases “obscene” videos for educational purposes.
The letter emphasizes the importance of academic freedom and the subsequent impermissibility of legislative interference with curriculum issues. It also points out that, to be considered obscene, material has to lack educational value.
The amendment, introduced by Republican Senator Susan Wagle, targets a human sexuality class that has been taught at KU for 20 years. It was recently adopted by the Kansas legislature as part of the state budget bill.
Governor Sebelius will decide by Monday, April 21, 2003, whether to veto the amendment.