For Immediate Release
UF-Student Government sued for Public Records Violations
Summary: A recent UF graduate is suing UF Student Government for failing to make records of meetings public as required by Florida’s Public Record Law. The UF Student Senate oversees a budget of some fourteen million public dollars a year, but Plaintiff Frank Bracco says that his requests for copies of the recordings of Student Senate Meetings have been repeatedly denied or ignored, contrary to Florida Statute 119.07, which allows citizens the right to inspect and copy public records. “The lesson UF Student Government should be teaching is that no public agency is above the law and transparency in public meetings is vital to good government,” says Mr. Bracco. “Instead, they are skirting the law and hiding the ball.”
August 25, 2009 Gainesville, FL – Recent University of Florida graduate Frank Bracco filed a law suit against UF and Student Government for violations of the Public Records Law. Bracco filed the lawsuit today with Florida's Eighth Judicial Circuit.
The lawsuit alleges UF Student Government denied him copies of documents that are part of the public record on three separate record requests. Bracco also claims University failed to properly store public records, resulting in the destruction of records requested on two other occasions.
The right of the public to inspect and copy public records is guaranteed under Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes, also referred to as the Public Records Law. Documents requested are usually turned over to the public, but Bracco’s lawsuit cites several occasions over the past ten months where he was denied copies. “My experience is not unlike what others have experienced when dealing with the UF, especially Student Government,” said Bracco, “but I want to ensure others have the right to access public documents in order to promote transparency and accountability.”
The records requested all deal with public meetings held by Student Government. Student Government is created by the State Constitution and Statutes and is subject to the Public Records Law. State law allows Student Government to have an operating budget of nearly 14 million dollars, which is collected through Activity and Service fees levied on each student. “The lesson UF Student Government should be teaching is that no public agency is above the law and transparency in public meetings is vital to good government,” says Mr. Bracco. “Instead, they are skirting the law and hiding the ball.”
Current Student Body President Jordan Johnson has pledged to create an open and transparent Student Government, but requests to intervene in Bracco’s requests have been ignored.