Calling an end to secret BOG meetings

The Board of Governors should increase transparency.

Sean Niemic

In a guest column in the Oct. 8 issue of the Daily, two presidents of the Board of Governors used weasel words and their secret process to dispute the claims of two other members of the BOG. A quick review of the facts: Two former BOG members say that Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow received an initial recommendation to receive office space. This recommendation was overturned by Coffman Administrator Jason Hancock. As the column from the two BOG presidents noted, the BOG did not âÄúadopt a recommendation that CFACT be awarded space.âÄù All of this was followed by an aggressive effort by Coffman Administrator Maggie Towle to identify and silence the leaks in the secret process. These facts are not in dispute. The two BOG presidents are pretending that the only statements that matter are the public ones and not the secret machinations of the process that happens behind closed doors. That is the real problem. When distributing benefits and fees to student groups, the University demands openness. The University mandates all fee meetings be recorded and open to the public. The University has suffered egg on its face when students made decisions behind closed doors (see The Minnesota Daily March 4, 2002, Tim Lee SSFC secret meetings) or when administrators and students worked in secret to overhaul the process (see July 6, 2005, the Jerry Rinehart secret memos). Considering the distribution of office space is a duty granted to the BOG by the 2004 Fees Committee, why should this be any different? In their column, Kapphahn and Weiske claimed, âÄúWe know personally that the BOG upholds high standards for fairness throughout the space-allocation process.âÄù IâÄôm glad that they both âÄúknowâÄù this about the BOG, but the rest of us are left in the dark because the BOG holds secret meetings. Sean Niemic vice president of CFACT