The Richard McKee Transparency Act of 2011 is an important change in the publics’ ability to access college information. The law, named after the late PCC professor and open government activist, is designed to allow the public to have more access to college information requested.
According to the California Newspaper Publishers Assoc-iation, the new law “establishes in the Education Code provisions that mirror the California Publics Records act to ensure that UC, CSU and community college auxiliaries and foundations adhere to the same principles on public access.”
The new law was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown after a three-year battle between universities and supporters to bring accountability to California’s public higher education institutions.
Last May, USC and CSU dropped their opposition after a compromise was made regarding donor privacy.
This is great news for any student paying tuition to a public school and for all the taxpayers. It is now possible to find out things like how much fund-raisers are being paid, and how much money is budgeted to each department, and much more information.
The law authored by Sen. Leland Yee, states that information regarding how public colleges and universities conduct business “is a necessary and fundamental right of every person in this state.”
According to Calaware.org, Yee’s chief of staff Adam Keigwin said the law clarifies that the public can obtain letters, email, correspondence, financial statements, and most any record regarding how tuition and tax money is spent at UC’s, CSU and California Community colleges.
New information about how money is used for campus bookstores, vendors, parking, arena development, and study body organizations is now available to anyone that requests information.
The law is an important step for the availability of records to the public.
Records can now be found to be sure that administration officials are making responsible and effective decisions with the publics’ money.
“Finally there will be a real transparency to UC and CSU, and we’re looking forward to seeing how these universities are running these organizations and where the money is going,” Keigwin told Calaware.org
An example of information now available to the public is the seemingly extraordinarily high salaries of coaches at major universities.
According to UCGlobal.org the highest paid UC employees are head coaches of athletic departments, and they are paid substantially more than other employees.
Are athletics so important that we must deny important funds to students and educational programs?
It is information like this that the McKee Act has made available to the public.
It is important for the public to have access to this information, and to use the information to keep the government in check. Students pay for their schooling, they have a right to know where their money is being spent, and more importantly how efficiently it is being spent.
Better knowledge of how our money is being spent could allow students to help generate ideas of how things can work better in the future.
Having access to the information is not enough; the public must use the information to help improve how education funds are used in California.