MIDLAND, Mich. — The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the University of Michigan for violation of the state’s Freedom of Information Act. The school refused to provide a significant portion of documents requested concerning the science and data used to support the state’s lockdown orders.
When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the Michigan Safe Start Plan in May, there were a number of questions about the rationale behind the decisions being made. The governor claimed that all the best “science and data” was considered while putting these orders into place, but she refused to share the details publicly. While the governor’s office is exempt from FOIA under Michigan law, Gov. Whitmer relied on information from officials at the University of Michigan to formulate these policy decisions. As a public university, U-M is subject to Michigan’s FOIA law.
On May 13, 2020, the Mackinac Center requested email communications relating to the state’s COIVD-19 response between three university employees who were providing input to state officials. The request asked for records of email correspondence these three public employees had with any official state government email address. A second request was filed on May 27, 2020, expanding upon the original request to include emails from those individuals referencing the “Michigan Safe Start Plan.”