Maryland Regents Broke Open-Meetings Law in Big Ten Talks, Board Finds

The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents violated the state’s open-meetings law “in multiple respects” when it met last fall to discuss the College Park campus’s move from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten Conference, according to a report released this week by the state’s Open Meetings Compliance Board. Critics, including one regent, questioned those quick moves. The regents had previously admitted that two provisions of the law were not followed when they met over two days in November. After the report was released, the system said in a written statement that the board had revised its procedures “to ensure transparency and compliance” with the law.

“The Board [of Regents] itself has an affirmative duty to comply with the Act,” the compliance board wrote. “Accordingly, we find that the Board of Regents violated the Open Meetings Act by failing to give public notice of its November 18 and 19, 2012, Special Meetings and by failing to follow the Act’s mandatory procedures for closing an open meeting.

“We also find, even on the basis of the limited information that the Board has provided to us about those meetings, that at least some of the Board’s discussion should almost certainly have been conducted in open session. Lastly, we find that the summaries of the two closed sessions posted on the Board of Regents’ website are deficient in that both fail to name all persons present at those meetings as required by the Act.”

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