Bill Would Limit Public Information Requests Of Professors

Ann McClure's picture
Monday, February 6, 2012

In Virginia, the attorney general, skeptical of global warming, tried to use his subpoena powers to build a fraud case against a climatology professor.

In Wisconsin, Republican Party officials sought the emails of a history professor, trying to demonstrate that he had misused his public account to stir political unrest during the state's highly publicized battles over organized labor.

Maryland Del. Sandy Rosenberg, a Baltimore Democrat, has cited these controversies, which garnered national attention, as he vows to prevent a similar situation from arising here. Rosenberg introduced a bill being considered in the General Assembly that would extend broader protection from public information requests to professors at the state's public universities.

But as it has elsewhere, the issue has sparked a debate pitting academic freedom against freedom of information. Rosenberg's efforts have drawn praise from academics and raised concerns among open-government advocates.

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