SG Buck’s the Law

An increasing public demand for more open government caused Florida to institute Sunshine Laws in 1967, according to Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Wilson.

Under the terms of the laws, all meetings, records and documents of public officials and public bodies need to be made readily available for access. FAU is a “public” university, meaning that school and SG officials are responsible for adhering to these laws.

This includes allowing access to minutes from meetings between official bodies (e.g., the SG Senate or UWC), having public meetings between two or more officials discussing public business (e.g., legislation or statutes) being open to the public and fulfilling all requests for paper documents or records within a “reasonable period of time.” Here is a quick rundown of the most recent activities of SG that, under the terms of the Sunshine Laws, raise questions.

Nov. 1, 2006 – The UP reports that Student Body President Austin Shaw and Vice President Kim Nguyen were sworn in by FAU President Frank Brogan in a private 45-minute meeting. The press was not invited or even informed of the meeting.

Feb. 21, 2007 – The UP reports that a public records request submitted July 29 for all UWC meetings since July 1, 2006, has yet to be fulfilled. The request has still not been fulfilled.

Feb. 27, 2007 – The UP reports that SG is destroying audio versions of Senate meeting minutes after they are transcribed to paper.

March 23, 2007 – Senators Michael Hallenstein and Jared Torres are overheard outside the UP office discussing “Chapter 600 statutes” which are on the docket for voting later in the day.

March 23, 2007 – A UP reporter is told to “get lost” after attempting to write about SG’s Chief Justice Jason Blinder, Boca Gov. Rocky Joarder and Senator Michael Hallenstein’s conversation during a Senate meeting’s recess.