Editor's Note

The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Friday, March 07, 2008

University of Illinois Accused of Secrecy

SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois came under fire Thursday for its response to requests for public records.

State Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, criticized the UI for what he sees as a pattern of "unresponsiveness" on Freedom of Information Act inquiries from students and journalists, on subjects ranging from utility costs to the retirement of Chief Illiniwek.

At a legislative budget hearing in Springfield, Rose said the UI has dragged out requests by denying them outright, demanding fees or calling them "unduly burdensome."

"Why can't we get these documents?" Rose asked UI President B. Joseph White.

White defended the university's commitment to openness and its record on FOIA requests, but also promised to do better.

"The general principle is, we do our business not only in the open but in the sunshine," he said.

Rose said in one case, UI student Paul Schmitt – elected last week as the new Urbana student trustee – was told his request for correspondence between "officers and agents" of the university and the NCAA was unduly burdensome because it didn't specify what an officer or agent was.

"At best that's a slap in the face to the kid who filed it. At worst you're trying not to disclose something," Rose said.

More here.

No comments: