Politics

The University of Louisville violated state open meetings law by allowing board members to attend closed sessions via teleconference without first notifying the public, the Kentucky Attorney General’s office said in an opinion issued Monday.

Courier Journal argued in an open meetings appeal in December that U of L’s board of trustees routinely violated the law when board members participated remotely because U of L didn’t issue a public notice that the meetings were to be conducted via teleconference.

U of L argued that allowing some members to participate by video didn’t rise to the level of a teleconference, since the meeting primarily took place in-person with a quorum. But the attorney general sided with Courier Journal. If the person on teleconference merely listened, the meeting is still taking place in one location. But when that person is participating, the meeting is taking place in multiple locations.

“We recognize that our decision creates notable inconvenience for members of public agencies,” the opinion by Andy Beshear and Matt James said. “However, such inconvenience must yield to the express language of the Open Meetings Act, and its policy that “the formation of public policy is public business and shall not be conducted in secret and the exceptions provided . . . shall be strictly construed.”

Read the whole ruling here.

Kate Howard is a veteran investigative reporter specializing in government accountability and higher education issues.