MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A district judge ruled that University of Minnesota regents acted improperly last fall by withholding the names of finalists for the post of president.
Several media organizations sued in November when the regents declined to identify finalists to succeed President Mark Yudof. Board Chairwoman Maureen Reed said at the time that several of the candidates didn't want to be interviewed unless their identities were protected.
But Hennepin County District Judge Pamela Alexander ruled Thursday the regents violated the state's Data Practices Act by withholding applicant data. And Alexander said regents were wrong to suspend the Open Meeting Law to interview candidates in secret.
Minnesotans depend on public data access laws to "protect their ability to scrutinize the activities and decisions of the public officials to whom they have entrusted the conduct of their public affairs," Alexander wrote.
She ordered the university to release the names and some relevant data on any applicants that regents chose to interview before they settled on Robert Bruininks, then the interim president. She gave the school five days to comply.
Mark Rotenberg, the university's general counsel, said a motion was filed Friday asking for a stay.
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