The making of public records available is more of a guideline than a “law” to adhere to here at the University of Oregon. In January, Economics Professor Bill Harbaugh requested President Michael Gottfredson’s calendar via the Public Records Office. It took them two months to produce this PDF with redactions and cost Harbaugh $108.
In very related news, the state of Pennsylvania decided last month that the public is entitled to the calendars of public officials in their entirety. This is shocking to reporters here at the University of Oregon, as the Public Records Office and UO chief executives like to interpret Public Records Law according to their personal discretion, rather than according to a transparent and concise procedure. This is acknowledged as lawful by UO Administrators because, as stated by Dave Hubin, “Oregon’s public records law is internally contradictory and ambiguous,” justifying the personal discretion used by those involved in preparing said “public” documents.
As Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center states in his post on April 30, 2013 (see Pennsylvania link above), what applies to a state governor can be applied to chief executives of public universities. The post continues, stating,
“Pennsylvania law, like all state open-records laws, presumes that the public should have the maximum possible access and that any exceptions to access should be narrowly interpreted. That is, appropriately, what the Commonwealth Court did April 23 in Office of the Governor v. Scolforo.”
I have requested Gottfredson’s calendar since January 8, 2013, the cutoff date of the last request. Since this University of Oregon no longer claims to be “Oregon’s flagship university” and is en route to losing its research status granted by the Association of American Universities, I suppose the Administrators won’t really see any pressing need to save the UO brand by improving transparency. Research? Who needs that? That’s what OSU is for.