Brownell defends Trustees' meetings

University president says Board of Trustees did not violate law.

President Blaine Brownell said Thursday the Board of Trustees "simply have not violated the law."

Earlier this semester Melanie Scott, the student member of the Board of Trustees, told the Daily News that the trustees had discussed different proposals in executive session, in violation of the Open Door Law. Other trustees and administrators said they could not remember such conversations taking place.

Senator Ryan Tirre asked Brownell if any investigation would take place, and Brownell replied that Ball State does not have a problem with the Open Door Law.

"I know that has been a problem at other institutions," Brownell said. "But we've been very, very careful in observing the letter of the law."

Brownell said the trustees often discuss initiatives among themselves and with the administration, but do not do so during the closed meetings. Through these conversations, he said, the administration learns what initiatives the trustees will support.

"We're very reluctant to bring to the board anything that we aren't sure is going to be passed," Brownell said.

These things, Brownell said, may serve to give people the impression that the board's decisions are made "behind closed doors."

During interviews this semester, student trustee Melanie Scott said that at the end of each executive session, the trustee president would ask, "Does anyone have anything they want to discuss?"

Political Science Chairman Joe Losco asked Brownell if he disputed Scott's recollection, and if other issues had been discussed.

Brownell said the question is asked, but in reference to issues that have already been discussed -- "not anything new."

"It's not, now that we've covered the agenda, let's talk about everything else under the sun," Brownell said.


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