Intrepid student journalist David Schick earned some attention last month after launching a lawsuit against the University System of Georgia Board of Regents over open records access. Schick, a Georgia Perimeter College student and Army veteran was editing the school paper The Collegian, and wanted to learn more about how the school could suddenly develop a $25 million budget shortfall.
The school’s response to his open records requests had been sadly predictable — stonewalling while conducting an internal “investigation” and a demand of $2,963.39 to receive the records, a cost Schick debunked after presenting a sworn affidavit from a data-management expert showing, essentially, that all the school’s IT folks needed to do was a keyword search on a database and zip up the files for emailing.
Yesterday, Schick’s blog aired a bit of the back-room scuttlebutt kicked up by his attempts to penetrate the administrative morass. This tidbit emerges:
“Email from anonymous GPC employee:
I am concerned that our current Interim President has given our vice president’s a directive to do something that is illegal.He has told them that GPC will no longer be retaining email records beyond one week! This will make our jobs increasingly more difficult. But beyond this, I, and several others believe his directive to the vice presidents in actually illegal. And we believe he is up to no good again.We have searched for information supporting our belief, and have found the attached document. In reading this policy, it is very clear to us that Mr. Watts will be breaking the law and the policy of the BOR. This action also appears to be intentional, and may support the thoughts of many of us that he is trying to either hide something or cover up something that may have something to do with you.Is there anything, that you can do to help us?”