Texas A&M University officials will take a second look at a controversial decision widely seen as an attempt to prevent student journalists at Tarleton State University from investigating their own school's public records.Read the rest here.
Andrew Strong, A&M's general counsel, said Wednesday he wasn't aware of all of the facts when he crafted a letter that extended existing rules, which ban employees from abusing the Public Information Act, to include journalism students working on optional class assignments. Tarleton is part of the A&M University System.
The A&M rule, in effect since the mid-1990s, prohibits system employees from making public information requests of their employer. The rule was drafted after an employee used the law to make frivolous information requests, leaving A&M with the tab for the required research and compliance.
The regulation went unused until the fall semester.
Several Tarleton journalism students were part of The Light of Day project, a statewide initiative sponsored by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas to teach them how to use open records requests to develop investigative articles.
The goal of the project, said FOI Foundation executive director Keith Elkins, was to gather public information, share it and report on it.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
A&M revisits ruling after outcry