PUBLIC INFORMATION, WHISTLEBLOWERS — Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) has announced introduction of measures to reform public disclosure practices in Californias higher education systems by addressing recent public records and whistleblower controversies at the California State University and University of California, respectively.
At Sacramento State, the campus bookstore denied a request regarding contractual provisions that determine textbook markup rates and the length of the managing contract.
In 2001, the Fresno Bee newspaper was also denied information, specifically concerning the identity of individuals and companies that purchased luxury suites at the Save Mart Center arena at Fresno State. The denial resulted in CSU v. Superior Court (McClatchy Company), in which the Court opined that although it recognized university auxiliaries ought to be covered by the CPRA and that its ruling was counter to the obvious legislative intent of the CPRA, the rewriting of the statute was a legislative responsibility.
Taxpayers and students deserve to know how their public universities are run, said Yee. SB 218 will ensure that our higher education systems operate in the light of day and thus are held accountable.
The bill would also apply to the auxiliary organizations at campuses of the community colleges and the University of California.
This is the classic case of the fox guarding the hen house, said Yee. UC executives should not be judge and jury on whether or not they are liable for monetary claims. This was not the intent of Californias whistleblower law. In light of the Courts ruling, it is imperative that we pass SB 219 and immediately correct this statute to protect UC workers from unfair retaliation for rightfully reporting waste, fraud, or abuse.