Archives

The University of North Carolina didn’t win any points for transparency in a report issued this week that found the Chapel Hill campus failed to respond to a student journalist’s request for copies of athletic department documents.

large_blue_600pxSeveral University of Maryland journalism students, in this report jointly published by the Student Press Law Center, asked 83 public colleges and universities for copies of codes of conduct for athletic departments and teams and other related documents.

While most schools complied with the request for copies of policies related to social media use by student athletes, UNC sat on the records request for more than five months without producing anything. Their inaction stood out from the rest of the schools, the vast majority of which complied with requests for records.

The student journalists also encountered problems at the University of Delaware and the University of Central Florida, both of which denied the requests for information.

Dave Collier, the head of University of Arizona’s journalism school and current president of the national Society of Professional Journalist, called UNC’s handling of the requests “terrible.”

“I don’t know if that’s UNC’s intent here, but it’s really outrageous, that kind of delay,” Cuillier said in the SPLC report. “Does UNC really want to be an outlier? Does UNC want to be seen that way?”

Read More

Here’s your daily dose of sunshine today, or at least the open government type of rays celebrated every year as part of the national Sunshine Week.

Earlier this month,  Lee County commissioners abandoned their normal meeting location to hold what is supposed to be a town hall-type public meeting at Sanford’s private Carolina Trace Country Club, according to this account from the writers behind the Rant, a Sanford-based news blog. (Scroll down for the video, it’s worth it.)

After digging a bit, writer Billy Liggett, a former newspaper editor, found out that the March 7 meeting was not only being held in a place where the general public couldn’t go, it was limited to residents of the Carolina Trace gated community. An advertisement later obtained by Liggett about the meeting promoted the meeting as a meet-and-greet with local Republican elected official and candidates for upcoming races.

North Carolina’s open meeting law is pretty clear on what ought to happen when it comes to these situations, requiring that “each official meeting of a public body shall be open to the public, and any person is entitled to attend such a meeting.” Read More

It looks like state legislators may be taking their cue from North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos on an important issue: public access to government information.

A few weeks back, as you will recall,  Wos solemnly informed reporters that transparency can be ”dangerous” in government. Today, the state Senate put Wos’ philosophy into action by passing legislation to do away with public notice requirements for several local governments.

WRAL.com has the story: Read More

Closed Doors(Cross-posted from the Action NC blog)

To those following both the ongoing negotiations of the Congressional “Supercommittee” in Washington and the incredibly protracted session of the NC General Assembly, there is one tie that binds: secrecy.

No one, outside of the select few in power, have any idea what the heck is going on.

For example, the deficit reduction negations that have apparently been progressing for months in order to trim our national debt by over a trillion dollars haven’t been generating much press. Unless you’ve been looking really hard, you probably haven’t seen or heard much about their progress (or lack thereof) because all of negotiations have been done behind closed doors. This weekend, Congressional leaders met with members of the deadlocked committee in order to facilitate an ending, but guess how they did it? Behind closed doors.

Read More