ERIC Number: ED224031
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Columbia Daily Tribune v. The Curators of the University of Missouri: A Case Study.
Watt, Phyllis C.
The 1978 lawsuit between the Columbia, Missouri, "Daily Tribune" and the University of Missouri concerning Sunshine Laws, while singular and specific, is of concern to all news organizations. When "Tribune" reporter Randy McConnell was denied access to the University's audit reports and other documents and was forbidden to attend an informal dinner meeting of the University's governing Board of Curators, the "Tribune" filed a lawsuit against the University citing violation of the state's Sunshine Law. The lawsuit turned out to be a time-consuming challenge as the University delayed the litigation through a series of denials and appeals, citing exemption from the law. It was not until 4 years after the paper first filed suit that a circuit court judge upheld McConnell's belief in openness and Missouri's Sunshine Law. It was not until 3 months after that decision that the University, facing contempt charges and public pressure, began to open its meetings. That process, however, has been formally stayed pending appeal of the circuit court's decision. The Missouri state legislature has since approved a major rewrite of the Sunshine Law, which strengthened the law in several respects but exempted social meetings of public governmental bodies from its provisions. It is clear, however, that if a governmental body questions the applicability of such a law, the issue can be tied up in courts for an extended and costly length of time. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Freedom of Information Center, Columbia, MO.