ST. PAUL (AP) -- The names of the semifinalists considered during the Board of Regents' search for a new University of Minnesota president must be made public, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
The ruling, upholding a decision made last March by Hennepin County District Judge Pamela Alexander, is a victory for several news organizations that argued that the university could not withhold information about the candidates.
"It is a complete victory for public access," said John Borger, attorney for the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minnesota Daily, Rochester Post-Bulletin, and the Minnesota Joint Media Committee also were part of the lawsuit.
University general counsel Mark Rotenberg said the university was reviewing the ruling and considering its options. "We're disappointed in this decision," he said.
The Board of Regents has 30 days before it has to release the information, and the regents could appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Despite protests by media organizations, the board argued that public interviews would impede the selection process. It argued that it was not subject to the state's Minnesota Open Meeting Law because the university is independent under the state Constitution.
The news organizations replied that choosing a new president is a public matter since the university is a public institution. They asked that the names of the semifinalists and other data concerning those candidates should be made public.
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