Friday, April 30, 2010

Is the University of Minnesota

Skirting the Open Meeting Law, Again?

Today I sent the following letter to the chairperson of the Faculty Consultative Committee:

April 30, 2010
Professor Marti Hope Gonzales
Chair, Faculty Consultative Committee
University of Minnesota

Dear Professor Gonzales,

I note with great concern that several recent FCC meetings have been closed.

The University Senate bylaws require committees of the Senate to hold open meetings. See Article IV, section 3(e) at .

The bylaws do allow closed meetings, but that would be lawful only for one of the purposes authorized by the open meeting law: "Limited exception based on attorney client privilege, labor negotiations, and employee evaluations."

Although the administration seems to want to operate the University as a medieval city-state, it is subject to the open meeting law. See Minn. Stat. 13D.01 and Minn. Stat. 13D.05. None of the topics discussed at the most recent FCC meeting were of the nature for which a meeting may be closed.

Moreover, how does holding closed meetings square with the duty of the FCC to report on matters that should be brought to the attention of the University at large?
See Article II, section 5, part I, executive duty (f) in the University Senate bylaws.

This is a formal request that the FCC justify any closing of meetings in the future by citing the relevant portion of the open meeting law used to justify such behavior. It is particularly disturbing that the President chose to participate in such a closed meeting, given the legal problems of the University with the open meeting law and the last presidential search.

If detailed minutes or recordings from the last meeting are available, this is a formal request, under the open meeting law, that they be provided. This request also applies to detailed minutes or recordings of the FCC meeting with the administration prior to the Faculty Senate meeting on March 25. Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.


William B. Gleason
University of Minnesota Faculty Member

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