Why does the University of Michigan insist on secrecy? (guest column)

Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act guarantees “all persons, except those persons incarcerated in state or local correctional facilities … full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and public employees.”

But the way the University of Michigan handles requests for such information flies in the face of this spirit of transparency and erects nearly impenetrable roadblocks for investigative journalists and concerned citizens alike.

Recently, as a college newspaper editor, I filed an open records request with the university, along with about a dozen other large public institutions of higher education, for the names of faculty couples who had recently been hired together. Several states granted my request; others have chosen not to, citing a lack of a directive under their state’s open records law to compile information from multiple sources. Michigan was the outlier, however. Continue>>>