Blue Sky report still not finalized, Taskforce to meet after break

Thane Himes

Last week Michael Whiteford, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was under the impression that the Blue Sky Taskforce’s final report was complete, and that the report wasn’t going to be released to the public until all of the Taskforce had had the opportunity to read the final version.

This week, things are no longer definite.

“Last week, I believed the report to be in its final form, but it looks like the Taskforce needs to meet at least one more time to consider making some adjustments,” Whiteford said. “I think we all need more time than we originally thought.”

Whiteford and Chitra Rajan, chairwoman of Blue Sky and associate vice president for research and economic development, met with the associate deans and department heads earlier this week. At the meeting, requests were made to make changes to the report before releasing it to the public. 

“It’s very important the report have the right impact,” Rajan said. “There are things in the report that would distract from the goal of the Taskforce. If the report were to be released too early, all our efforts would be for nothing, were the report interpreted the wrong way.”

Adam Goldstein, legal adviser for the Student Press Law Center, believes the report should have already been released.

“To me, it sounds like they’re giving a disingenuous explanation,” Goldstein said. “Open record laws aren’t the ‘Hokey Pokey.’ Something doesn’t become final or not final simply because of whether or not it would require they release the record to the public.”

“If all it took to withhold an open record was to say that it isn’t final anymore, the open record laws would be meaningless. Otherwise, a public figure could just say that a record isn’t final any time he or she didn’t want it given out.”

Goldstein also made sure to point out that it could still be a legitimate miscommunication. 

“It isn’t outside the realm of possibility that [Whiteford] did legitimately misspeak,” Goldstein said. “But if [Whiteford] didn’t claim to have misspoke until being asked for the report, it’s more likely that he simply doesn’t want the report released to the public.”

The Taskforce is not scheduled to meet until after Winter Break.