Friday, November 19, 2010

The New U President: What Went Wrong.

The University of Minnesota selected a new President on Thursday, but there are allegations that the state's Open Meeting Law was violated.  The Star Tribune reported that there were private meetings between members of the Board of Regents(University's governing body) and the candidate Eric Kaler before the public interview in an open hearing of the full board.

The U seems to be falling into its old habits again, not wanting to follow our states open meeting and public records law. This is not new for the U.  Depending on the issue the Regents would fight to the death either in the Courts or at the Legislature that they are self autonomous and open government laws did not apply to them.

That changed in 2004 when the Minnesota Supreme Court said, no, no, Regents you are accountable to the laws of the State of Minnesota, Open Meeting Law and the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

Since 2004, the Regents and the U have fought hard at the legislature to keep things secret.  Those things such as how the U of M invests at least a billion dollars in private venture capitol, Tubby Smith's and his coaches outside income, which is related to the new conflict of interest reporting that the U is in the process of adopting.

So in whose hands does responsibility land to see what happened with the selection process and that the U is not falling into its old tricks again, the media, the legislature, or you the citizen?

You ask any citizen in Minnesota, tell them that billions of their hard earned money goes to the U, the University is viewed as the new technology and research engine for our states economic future, and it is important for the education of our citizens, would you hire the candidate for CEO who only answers the tough questions in private?  I would think not.

The blame should not be on the new President, but on the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota

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