Editorial: UNC’s failure to disclose contract leaves a bad taste

From The Greeley Tribune:  We don’t want to make a Grande out of a Tall, but we were disappointed this week with the University of Northern Colorado for its decision to hide behind a legally dubious confidentiality clause and withhold the contract between the university and Starbucks.

This all came up because of the future of the coffee shop in the University Center on UNC campus is in doubt. Starbucks, which closed May 15, has had a presence at the University Center since 2005. It generates about $360,000 per year in revenue for the university. That’s a full 18 percent of the $2 million per year generated by retail dining options on campus.

UNC spokesman Nate Haas said is not unusual for this Starbucks at the University Center to cease operations during the summer. He also said that UNC and the coffee shop are involved in contract negotiations and even if Starbucks decides not to come back next school year, its location in the University Center will be full.

What left a bad taste in our mouths, though, was when Tribune reporter Tyler Silvy asked to see the contract between Starbucks and the university — which is a public entity — Haas told him he couldn’t provide it because of a confidentiality clause in the contract.

That’s a fairly clear violation of the Colorado Open Records Act, according to Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition President Steve Zansberg, who also represents The Tribune in transparency cases.

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