For reasons that I’m sure were not at all self-interested, Graham Spanier fought hard against the application of the state’s Right to Know Law to his particular public institution:
The law presumes that virtually all records of an agency are public. State and local government agencies, the 14 state-owned universities — including Millersville and Shippensburg — and the state’s community colleges are fully subject to the law.
Penn State is granted some exceptions. The university must release some financial information and salaries of only its top 25 earners.
Spanier lobbied hard to keep Penn State from being fully subject to the open-records law.
Since the governor is now arguing that these exceptions should be rescinded, some trustees are arguing that the school should go private rather than open its records.
And while I don’t have much respect for Spanier’s opposition to transparency, nor can one have much respect for Corbett as a supporter of public education:
As governor, Corbett is a member of the Penn State board. At the last trustees’ meeting, Corbett said Penn State would have to choose: taxpayer dollars or secrecy.
Corbett cut 20 percent of the university’s state aid in his first year in office. And he is proposing a 30 percent cut in the 2012-13 budget.
Penn State undergraduates who are state residents pay $15,124 in tuition this year. Tuition has more than doubled in the past decade, a fact Corbett has noted repeatedly.
The last time Penn State didn’t raise tuition was the 1967-68 school year. Tuition then was $450.
It cuts both ways; if wingnuts keep cutting public funding from nominally public universities, it becomes harder to complain when their tuition becomes unaffordable and they don’t want to be treated as public institutions under the law.