Attorney: University of Louisville violated open meetings law with trustees call
Fifteen minutes before they announced a post-season ban for the men’s basketball team on Friday, University of Louisville informed the school’s Board of Trustees of the action on a conference call. The call, for which there was no public notice or access, appeared to violate Kentucky’s Open Meetings law.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Fifteen minutes before they announced a post-season ban for the men’s basketball team on Friday, University of Louisville informed the school’s Board of Trustees of the action on a conference call.
The call, for which there was no public notice or access, appeared to violate Kentucky’s Open Meetings law, said Jon Fleischaker, one of the state’s most experienced media lawyers.
“If a quorum or more were on the phone call, then it’s clearly a special meeting of the board,” Fleischaker said. “As such, there should have been some notice given.”
The meetings law requires advanced notice and an agenda for each meeting, along with public access to the meeting at a convenient location. It is designed to ensure that government boards conduct their business in public.
Friday’s call lasted about five minutes, and the official statement Ramsey later delivered to the media was read to the trustees with no questions taken, according to a source.
Fleischaker said the incident amounts to only a “technical violation” of the law since the trustees were merely informed of an administrative action and did not vote or take any action as a board.
UPDATE, 5 pm: According to an email shared by U of L spokesman John Karman, it was not only the 20 trustees but about 200 people in all who were invited to listen to the call.
It appears the university invited the board members of the U of L Foundation and the members of its Board of Overseers. The list included several prominent people such as Mayor Greg Fischer, Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens and Greater Louisville Inc. President Kent Oyler.
"Dr. Ramsey and Mr. Jurich would like to brief you about the substance of the announcement before it is presented to the public," a U of L staffer wrote in the email.
"At present, we do not know the identity of the individuals who dialed in for the call or even the number of individuals who dialed in," Karman said. "President Ramsey read the statement (he later read at the press conference). Athletic Director Tom Jurich and NCAA consultant Chuck Smrt each made a short statement.The call-in technology permitted only one-way communication, so there was no opportunity for questions or discussion."
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