Home » News » New article examines conflict between academic freedom & open-records laws

By , published on June 15, 2009

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This from Zach Greenberg writing for FIRE: “A recent paper provides an in-depth look into the ongoing friction between state open records laws and the academic freedom of university researchers.”

“The article, written by University of California, Berkeley, School of Law professor Claudia Polsky, addresses how these laws have been used to conduct politically-motivated fishing expeditions into the private academic records of controversial professors in order to deter them from research and debate.”

“Polsky argues that “professors should never have been subject to public records laws in the first instance, both because they are not engaged in public governance, and because open records laws are fundamentally incompatible with academic freedom.” Her meticulously researched article documents numerous instances of professors targeted by open records laws — a distortion detrimental to the “democracy-promoting intent” of these statutes. Although these laws were designed to shed light on government actors with decision-making authority, Polsky explains how they are currently being twisted to stifle legitimate academic inquiries into controversial issues.”


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