Opinion: CSU’s lack of transparency reaches the highest level, but it’s a simple fix

The Rocky Mountain Collegian (Fort Collins): A conversation about Colorado State University’s future at the highest university level happened this past weekend — 173 miles from Fort Collins.

CSU’s Board of Governors convened Thursday and Friday at the CSU Pueblo campus to discuss, among other topics, the Hughes Stadium property, the on-campus stadium’s projected income statement, political tension surrounding free speech and a possible tuition increase.

The board’s six yearly meetings rotate locations between Denver, Fort Collins and Pueblo. While it’s reasonable to allow each campus part of the CSU System to have the spotlight, the location changes only further an already frustrating lack of transparency by CSU. Materials for these meetings are not available ahead of time, either for the public or the press. Agendas and meeting announcements are posted online a few days prior, but definitely not advertised – perhaps this is why no one is ever present for public comment. Meetings are not recorded, except by minutes that are only posted days afterward.

So, the location wouldn’t be an issue if the University made the on-average-400-page binder of board materials public ahead of time. It wouldn’t be an issue if the university live-streamed the meetings. And, I would be less inclined to make this an issue if my publication and I had not been requesting these very simple accommodations for (at least) three years.

The lack of accessibility is hardly surprising. Public meetings, in any context or organization, are notoriously not very public. Often times journalists go through training to navigate the obstacles. The much-coveted binder, full of important data, graphs, maps and explanations of board decisions, is only available for press use during meetings because a Coloradoan reporter requested it (or, more accurately, demanded it with annoying questions) a few years ago. But, we’re still not allowed to see the materials prior to the meeting, and there is only one binder on the press table to share. Could someone at least digitalize it at the time of the board meeting?

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