University of Iowa faculty told not to promote Greta Thunberg appearance

University of Iowa faculty told not to promote Greta Thunberg appearance
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Faculty at the University of Iowa were told not to promote a Tuesday visit by teen climate activist Greta Thunberg through university social media, according to emails obtained by a local newspaper.

After Professor Michelle Scherer of the school’s College of Engineering suggested in an email that the department share the details of her visit, the director of marketing and communications for the college said promoting the Nobel nominee’s appearance would go against school rules, according to The Gazette.

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“We cannot use our channels to publicize or promote policy change,” Jason Kosovski said. “We are always free to publicize our research, even if it has policy impacts, but Greta’s visit does not fit under the umbrella of university research.”

“I have consulted with UI Government Relations, and they have emphasized that this event does not fall within the scope of something we can promote,” Kosovski added, according to the newspaper.

Scherer, in an email to another communications staffer, said adherence to the policy would result in the college “missing an amazing opportunity.”

“It is all the students (undergrad and grad) are talking about. If there is any wiggle room to reconsider our stance on this, I’d love to make a pitch to someone to do so,” she wrote.

The policy in question bars “the use of the university name for any purpose in any non-university endeavor not previously sanctioned by the Office of Strategic Communication.”

Scherer argued Thunberg’s visit was not political and ties into environmental research being conducted on campus.

“Students are interested in this,” she told The Gazette. “This is an educational opportunity, and as an educator I feel the university could have engaged more.”

Kosovski did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.