Judge Says It's "Reasonable" to Believe CSU Board Violated Open-Meeting Law

May 2009

A closed meeting on May 5 by Colorado State University's Board of Governors where Joe Blake was selected as the sole finalist for chancellor "certainly raises a reasonable belief" that state law was violated, a judge in Larimer County said yesterday. That's according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, which joined with the Pueblo Chieftain and The Colorado Independent in a lawsuit arguing the board repeatedly broke Colorado open-meetings laws. Judge Stephen Schapanski concluded a review of evidence, including a recording of the closed session by the board, is now warranted. The judge is expected to listen to see if the board conducted an illegal vote during the meeting, as news organizations claim. While CSU insists the board did not violate the law and rejected calls to restart the chancellor-selection process, three watchdog groups--Colorado Ethics Watch, Colorado Common Cause, and New Era Colorado--decried the selection of Blake, a Denver business leader who served on CSU's board, as "tainted by a lack of transparency and apparent conflicts of interest," noting several actions, including his participation in the "controversial" decision to create a chancellor post.