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Professors think a proposed bill could help with harassment. FOI advocates disagree.

The Day | Erica Moser | April 21, 2023

[UConn math professor Fabrice Baudoin] wrote in favor of a proposed bill that would exempt certain records maintained or kept on file by the faculty or staff of a public college or university from the Freedom of Information Act.

The records include those “arising out of study, teaching or research on medical, artistic, scientific, technical, legal or other scholarly issues, including any such records of legal clinics or centers, but excluding any financial records of such institution.”…

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Lauren Kurtz wrote in supporting the bill, “Open records laws have a vital role in government transparency but, in the specific realm of higher education, they also can be exploited by bad actors to harass and intimidate scientists and academics whose research they dislike. State open records laws were initially written long before the advent of email and sometimes even the founding of state universities.”

She said responding to inquiries can consume tens, hundreds or thousands of hours that professors would rather spend doing research, while “universities simultaneously drown in legal fees that subtract from the public education budget.”

Kurtz added that academic work is already publicly available when published.

Read the full story at The Day

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