ERIC Number: ED249851
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
The Costs and Benefits of Openness: Sunshine Laws and Higher Education.
Braman, Sandra; Cleveland, Harlan
The way that "open meeting laws" are working in the governance of U.S. higher education is discussed, based on a study of sunshine laws of 50 states and a survey of case law and attorneys' opinions. In-depth interviews were also conducted with individuals from six states identified as representing a range of openness. From most open to least open, the states were Florida, Montana, Minnesota, Iowa, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Information is provided on the purpose of sunshine laws, defining breadth of coverage of the law, defining a "meeting" covered by the law, exemptions, and rules for executive sessions. The atmosphere of college governance since the advent of sunshine laws is also considered. Benefits of openness are discussed, including public participation in decision making and reduction of some types of procedural problems. Nine costs of openness are shown to have negative effects on individual privacy and institutional operation. Twenty-three characteristics of openness are defined, and a chart indicates the characteristics of each of the 50 states. Additional information is provided on: criteria for determining which agencies are covered by sunshine laws, the number of people that constitute a meeting as defined by each state, and specific sanctions for violation of sunshine laws allowed by each state. (SW)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis. Hubert H. Humphrey Inst. of Public Affairs.