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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: UNC shouldn’t discourage required transparency

Bradley Saacks

Director of enterprise Bradley Saacks

On Monday, UNC posted an announcement on its scandal website without warning.

Since 2012, the University has spent more than $7.5 million on law and public relations help in relation to the ongoing academic-athletic scandal.

To explain why this sum of money was needed, the release listed some of the “unprecedented combination of simultaneous issues” the University is facing.

As one of the “issues,” UNC lists “two pending public records request — the largest in University history.”

A public record request is not an “issue” — it’s the right of every North Carolinian.

The requests are, more or less, identical: All of the records used by former investigator Kenneth Wainstein’s team to create its report that was released a little over a year ago.

One of these requests was made by (Raleigh) News & Observer reporter Dan Kane. The other was made by me.

And the University has equated these requests with the ongoing NCAA investigation among other scandal-related fallouts by listing it under the label of “issues.”

By listing my request alongside legitimate “issues” the University is facing, UNC hasn’t just been lazy, but also incorrect.

By blaming the media, the University is once again playing the victim. The University is not the victim.

I would not have made the largest request in University history if the worst scandal in University history was not still going on. The media is a constant source of UNC diehards’ exasperation, but reporters, like myself, are doing what we are trained to do: Question authority and hold power to the light.

UNC should not discourage public record requests by labeling them as “issues.” If anything, the powers-that-be at the University should invite more public record requests — especially if they are serious about moving forward.

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