How public universities avoid scrutiny via FOI requests

In total, presidential expenses were the most costly records; it would take $10,750.93 to fulfill them all. Arielle Hines, president of CMU-SPJ and a senior journalism major, questioned the hours it would take to fulfill the requests. “What archaic system are you using?” she said. “You have to think they’d have some kind of auditing process for the president, and if not, that’s a bigger story.” (Incidentally, this isn’t the first time that Hines, the editor of CMU Insider, has pushed for more and better transparency at public universities.)

The universities also collectively charged $5,104.51 for sexual assault police reports and $4,759.54 for governing board expenses. Eight universities indicated that the requests would take more than a thousand hours to fulfill at up to $78 per hour. These are requests that Hines described, in a Bridge column, as “crafted specifically to make retrieval easy and to minimize ‘review.’” The audit, she wrote, demonstrated that “at too many public universities, members of the public are priced out of public records,” and “revealed a system largely hostile to any sort of reasonable openness.”

Stephen By Stephen

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Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

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