ERIC Number: EJ974867
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Reference Count: N/A
Growing Demands for Public Records: How Should Boards Respond?
Levinson-Waldman, Rachel; O'Neil, Robert
Trusteeship, v20 n1 p20-24 Jan-Feb 2012
In an era of demands for greater accountability in higher education, an increasingly polarized political environment, and scandals such as that at Penn State, access to information is becoming everyone's business, affecting public and independent institutions alike. Although Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) demands are often annoying or burdensome, and occasionally downright disruptive, colleges and universities ought never to view themselves as being above scrutiny. Greater transparency is a core value of academic governance, as much for independent as for public boards, albeit subject to different expectations. As boards consider this complex terrain, they should keep in mind that FOIA laws among the states are not uniform or consistent, that state mandates for public records and meetings are relatively new and not a constitutional imperative, that FOIA requests differ from requests for other government records, and that motive or purpose for the FOIA request is unimportant. Three significant issues involving public-records laws remain ripe for further inquiry: (1) whether the names of presidential candidates may be exempt from FOIA requests; (2) whether the records of donations to university-related foundations may be made public; and (3) whether independent institutions are exempt from FOIA requests.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Access to Information, Governance, Governing Boards, Administrator Responsibility, Information Policy, Administrative Policy, Accountability, Case Records, Confidential Records, Confidentiality, Disclosure
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. 1133 20th Street NW Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-356-6317; Tel: 202-296-8400; Fax: 202-223-7053; Web site: http://www.agb.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Freedom of Information Act