The Daily Tar Heel and Student Body President Disregard Transparency

Ever since the Daily Tar Heel released its review of the executive branch, it has slowly lost credibility as a viable news organization. The newspaper always friendly attitude towards Will Leimenstoll and his team has led to misinformation being given to the students here at Carolina. This friendship though has been brought to light, however, through a very insightful letter to the editor that was published several days after the review was.

 

This past Sunday even a press release was sent from Representative Connor Brady, North Campus District 1, to several news organizations, including us at  here at CR Daily and the DTH’s university desk, state news desk, and opinion desk. The press release entitled “SBP Leimenstoll Opposes Bill For Student Government Openness” discusses the bill, SCP-94-166, which is called “A Bill to Encourage Student Government Accessibility.” The bill would have allowed student government to amend the Student Code to require all branches of student government to publish minutes of their meetings to the various branches’ websites.  The Student Code already requires, along with the NC Open Meeting Laws, that all meetings minutes be published per  Title 1, Chapter 1, Section 103(A) states “Full and accurate minutes, including a record of all votes taken, shall be taken at all Student Government meetings.” The amendment is only ten lines long and gives the minutes seven days to be published. It passed unanimously with every member supporting it.

 

Leimenstoll’s response is confusing, because in his veto he states, “The definition of “Meetings of Student Government” is far too vague.” A quick search on Google reveals that a meeting is defined as, “The act or process or an instance of coming together; an encounter.” Leimenstoll also claims that due to the vagueness of the definition of the word “meeting” would open up the executive branch to lawsuits, because the aforementioned definition is too discreet. What his reasoning fails to grasp is that he is already open to lawsuits if he is not recording the minutes in the first place, because of his violation of NC Opening Meeting Laws.  The veto reasoning is not only weak, but also unworthy of a veto.

 

Rep. Brady (D-1), when asked for comment, shared his disappointment with the President’s veto. He believes that the SBP owes “the students and university an explanation and apology.” He goes on to further comment that the SBP should already be taking the minutes at all executive meetings and this bill would simply “require that the minutes be put online for easy access.” Brady ultimately believes that this is an assault on transparency, which should be an affront to a university already mired in transparency scandals.

 

Unsurprisingly, the editors and writers at the DTH refused to publish this story. It should not go as a shock to anyone who read their review of the Leimensoll administration. The DTH refused to publish this story in order to save face from giving the Leimenstoll an “A” on transparency.  Brady should be commended for his fight to make both Student Congress and the Exec. Branch more open to students. The DTH and Leimenstoll need to stop protecting their own interest and report both the minutes and the news in a fair and balanced manner, or they will continue to lose readership and humiliate themselves. I encourage all members of student congress to override this veto and do the job the Executive Branch and DTH refuse, provide students with accountability and transparency.  

1 comment

  1. There are a number of inaccuracies in your argument.

    Will himself has said that he thinks it is a good idea to allow access to minutes, and even offered suggestions for another bill that would provide this important resource. This is not an issue of fundamental philosophy; rather, it is a matter of a poorly written bill at hand. Honestly, Will’s concern over the vagueness of the term “meeting” is valid. If Brady intends it to mean official Cabinet or Executive Branch Officers meetings, that is perfectly valid, and, indeed, minutes are already taken in these cases. But what if, for instance, the VP and Treasurer discuss something for two minutes? Does that constitute a “meeting” in which minutes must be taken? We are presented with an incredibly slippery slope with no proper definition. Further, there are circumstances in which the minutes of some meetings should NOT be public access. Surely there were meetings regarding concerns over Brady’s behavior, and it would not make sense to publish those. The Exec Branch does not, in fact, refuse to publish minutes, and your conclusion is therefore misinformed.

    And, quite frankly, if CRDaily wishes to attack the DTH, it should probably look at its own weaknesses as well. A simple proofread before posting would be much appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s