Presidential candidates claim U promised secrecy

Josh Linehan

Despite warm temperatures this week, a blizzard of paperwork spewed from both sides preparing for appeal in the case involving Minnesota’s largest print media organizations and the University Board of Regents.

The regents filed a motion for discretionary appeal and an alternative motion to prevent them from revealing the names of presidential finalists Monday, following a decision in favor of the papers – which include The Minnesota Daily, The St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune – two weeks ago.

Judge Pamela Alexander said the regents violated state law when they closed meetings related to the search for a new University president and refused to release the names of finalists other than Robert Bruininks, who was ultimately chosen to succeed Mark Yudof.

New to the University’s case is an affidavit filed by attorney Kent Harbison on behalf of an unnamed number of “John Does” – the finalists whose names would be released by Alexander’s order.

The affidavit states the candidates were explicitly promised their names would not be revealed and all of the “John Does” currently hold high-level positions at other colleges or universities.

Daily attorney Mark Anfinson said the filings were largely matters of legal esoterica, though he felt the initial decision and the filing of the “John Doe” affidavit were good signs for the media groups.

Anfinson also said the regents were forced to file a request for discretionary appeal because several issues – including the media group’s request for legal fee reimbursement from the University – were yet to be decided.

Josh Linehan covers legal affairs and welcomes comments at [email protected]