University Systems in Delaware Might Be Dragged into the Sunshine…

The Delaware General Assembly meet in the Legi...

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From Delaware Online comes some good legislative news:

The University of Delaware and Delaware State University would be forced to lift a cloak of secrecy surrounding their operations under a bill expected to be introduced in the General Assembly today.

Citing several recent gripes with each university, a contingent of lawmakers wants to redefine UD and DSU as “public bodies,” which would force them to comply with all provisions of the state’s Freedom ofInformation Act.

The bill’s primary sponsor, state Rep. John Kowalko, said the two schools need to operate with more transparency in light of controversies over construction on each campus as well as UD’s decision to disband its men’s track and cross-country teams.

“They can’t be private one day and public the next,” said Kowalko, D-Newark-South. “We give them entirely too much money that we cannot track.”

Then it gets really interesting:

Since 1990, the state’s FOIA requirements have included exclusions written specifically for UD and DSU. Under the current law, only meetings of the full board of trustees must be conducted in public. By that point, most votes taken are unanimous. The committees of each board, whose members discuss major decisions in more detail, meet in private. The schools are obligated to disclose only how they spend state-appropriated money and do not release records related to privately raised funds.

Wow….that is amazing! I’d LOVE to know how such exemptions came to be — and what the legislative climate was like that would almost wholly protect an entire university system from any meaningful scrutiny…

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Kowalko said UD did not sufficiently disclose its decision-making process for ending the track team, while labor unions have complained it should provide a more thorough accounting of the building contracts it awards, many of which have gone to non-union or out-of-state firms.

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