How the CSU Board of Governors Violated Open Meetings Law

June 2009
Colorado State University's governing board violated state open meetings law by selecting Joe Blake as the sole finalist for chancellor, a district court judge has ruled in a lawsuit filed by the Fort Collins Coloradoan, The Pueblo Chieftain, and The Colorado Independent. Blake, a member of the board at the time, was interviewed on May 5 in a four-hour closed-door session prior to being named a finalist, according to the Coloradoan. Larimer District Court Judge Stephen Schapanski concluded that CSU's board violated the law by meeting in secret to discuss a matter involving one of its own members and by deciding in secret to support Blake for chancellor. Blake resigned from the board on May 26, after the board publicly discussed his candidacy for the job. Michele McKinney, spokeswoman for the Board of Governors, issued a statement: "The Colorado State University System Board of Governors is reviewing the judge's order and will be considering its options in the next few days" (via The Colorado Independent). Meanwhile, Susan Barnes-Gelt, a former member of Denver's city council, wonders what direction the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce will take following Blake's resignation as chief executive to take his new job at CSU. In an opinion piece for The Denver Post, she writes that Blake "did a fine job" and now is the time for "fresh ideas ... [b]ut based on names being bandied about and the organization's own website, it appears that the chamber is aspiring to the status quo instead."