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TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Call them "retreats" or "briefings," but government meetings are still open to the public

(10/15/13 7:29pm)

School boards and other government bodies required to admit the public to their meetings have come up a cute, but not especially persuasive, way of doing their business behind closed doors: By not calling their meetings "meetings." When a bunch of government officials sit around a table and talk about government business, common sense, Webster's dictionary and 20-20 vision say that's a "meeting." Regrettably, some government officials who distrust the public's ability to maturely deal with information -- or who realize their behavior is so deplorable that it can't withstand public scrutiny -- will go to extraordinary lengths to argue otherwise. They'll claim to be holding a "working session" or some other euphemism that sounds less "meeting-like." That may be reassuring for their consciences, but it's rarely a legally adequate justification to shut the public out. Recently, a Rhode Island judge ordered that state's Board of Education to invite the public to an "informational retreat" where board members were scheduled to discuss high school graduation requirements and standardized testing.






Federal judge smacks down Northern Kentucky's reliance on FERPA privacy to keep secrets in student's sexual-assault lawsuit

(10/30/16 4:12pm)

Northern Kentucky University has repeatedly insisted that the FERPA privacy statute forbids disclosure of any information about how it responds to students' claims of sexual assault, but a U.S. district judge has now sanctioned the university's legal counsel for over-reliance on FERPA to obstruct a student's Title IX lawsuit.