UConn accused of FOIA violations

- FILE - University of Connecticut (WTNH)

STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) — Many parents and students are still upset about the tuition hikes at UConn and tonight we’re learning that some of the decisions may have been made behind closed doors.

“Personally, I think it is a little shady,” said Student Jason Caraballo.

Students are reacting to a closed-door meeting last year held with UConn president and 33 other members of the administration to talk over the $1.3 billion budget. Student Ariana Jabidi says she is not surprised.

“The lack of transparency is pretty disturbing, especially since this is an issue that affects so many students and so many people,” said Jabidi.

Administrators voted to raise tuition more than 30 percent over the next four years because of the budget shortfall. Students say that process should be open to the public so they can participate and give input, and the Freedom of Information Commission agrees. They released a preliminary ruling saying UConn violated the Freedom of Information Act by closing its doors during the budget meeting. John Ewen is a journalism major at The University of Connecticut.

“I think it is necessary to keep information like this open to the public when it should be, so that everyone knows what’s going on. It is on a fair playing ground and nothing is really done behind anyone’s back,” said Ewen.

The University of Connecticut put out a statement saying:

The University believes that the financial affairs committee conducted its meeting appropriately. The University disagrees with the hearing officer’s recommendation to the commission. The ultimate decision on this matter will be made by the full FOI Commission and, if necessary, the courts.

Caraballo says the more open and transparent budget talks are, the more students will trust administrators.

“I think we should be able to trust our president and the administration personally, especially if we are giving them thousands of dollars every year,” said Caraballo.

Today’s decision is a preliminary ruling and the full board still has to vote on it.

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