By Robert Mann
We don’t know how the Louisiana newspapers’ lawsuit against the LSU Board will end. Will the public records case brought by the Times-Picayune and The Advocate — aimed at forcing release names of applicants for the LSU president’s job — wind up in the Louisiana Supreme Court? If so, might that result in an opinion that could profoundly expand access to public records while undermining the Jindal administration’s efforts to hide its activities from the public?
Could it be, however, that Jindal and the LSU Board ultimately decide that the potential damage to its efforts to evade the Public Records Law is just too risky entrust with the state’s Supreme Court?
But this we know: Judge Janice Clark has found that the LSU Board is in contempt of court for violating her order to release the records. She has fined the Board $500 for every day it refuses to comply. With the clock ticking, the Board so far owes Clark’s court more than $45,000.
In other words, if you’re a parent sending a child to LSU, some of your tuition money could be diverted away from your children’s education to pay a contempt of court fine. If you’re just an average taxpayer, some of your tax money might be taken from the education of students to pay for the LSU Board’s refusal to follow the state’s Public Records Law.
Among the many deplorable and shameful aspects of this case is the fact that you and I could be forced to pay for the LSU Board’s decision to ignore the law.
That’s wrong — and it’s why the public should demand that, when and if a fine is paid, the members of the LSU Board must pass the hat and pay the fine themselves, out of their personal funds.
Why should you and I be forced to pay for their willful disregard of the law?