Sustained Outrage

WVU Secrecy: The Big East settlement

Sometimes, you would think that West Virginia University doesn’t have a law school, at least to see the way WVU continually tries to ignore our state’s public records laws.

The latest example comes from WVU athletic director Ollie Luck in his press release about the university’s settlement with the Big East:

Luck said the agreement prohibits discussion of the details, but stressed that no state or taxpayer funds, tuition or academic support monies will be used to pay the settlement. Any settlement funding transferred, according to Luck, will come from private sources and independently generated athletic revenues.

Now, if I recall correctly, Luck has a law degree from the University of Texas. But maybe he’s a little rusty on the case law here in West Virginia. But all he needs to do is click on this link and read the state Supreme Court’s ruling in Daily Gazette Co. v. Withrow. In particular:

Assurances of confidentiality do not justify withholding public information from the public; such assurances by their own force do not transform a public record into a private record for the purpose of the State’s Freedom of Information Act.

And if that’s not enough, there’s this:

A public official has a common law duty to create and maintain, for public inspection and copying, a record of the terms of settlement of litigation brought against the public official or his or her employee(s) in their official capacity.

UPDATED:

WVU has released the settlement agreement, as the Gazette’s Dave Hickman reports here. The agreement itself is posted here.