North Dakota university system officials – who, in news I posted earlier today, have proven once again that they cannot be trusted – hate transparency and open records. They propose exemptions to the law all the time so that they can do more business outside of the light of public scrutiny.
One of their most recent hobby horses has been exempting applications for university president positions from open records requests, and in releasing the list of applicants today for the open position at the University of North Dakota they try to bolster their position by noting pointedly that three applicants withdrew because of open records requests.
The list – which I obtained via an open records request – is below.
Frankly, I think the attempt to use this list to bolster a push for closing off applications to transparency sort of backfires.
There were a total of 40 applicants for the position. Just three withdrew, all supposedly because of the state’s open records law. That’s a small number, and seems to put lie to this claim that the state is having a hard time recruiting candidates for university presidents because of open records law.
Frankly, the sort of applicant who can’t stand up to a little public scrutiny in the application process is probably not the sort of person we want holding down one of the state’s highest profile, and highest paid, positions.