Statement by University of Minnesota General Counsel Mark R...

Statement by University of Minnesota General Counsel Mark Rotenberg
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (11/15/2012) —University of Minnesota General Counsel Mark Rotenberg issued the following statement today in regards to the complaint brought against the University by the Animal Legal Defense Fund: In its complaint, which the University first received on November 13, 2012, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) alleges violations of the Minnesota Open Meeting Law and the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (DPA). Regarding the Open Meeting Law, ALDF claims it is entitled to attend meetings of the University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), an administrative committee of more than 18 members that reviews University research, teaching, and service projects involving animals. The Open Meeting Law applies to the University’s Board of Regents and its committees. It does not apply to meetings of numerous administrative committees at the University, including the IACUC, in which regents play no role. Regarding the alleged DPA violations, ALDF complains that it has not received several months of emails it seeks from IACUC’s members. The University informed ALDF of the expected cost to produce the data, and ALDF paid the cost in September 2012. Since that time the University has been processing ALDF’s request—gathering hundreds of documents from numerous sources across the University, and reviewing them for public disclosure. The University has not denied ALDF’s data request, and has not violated the DPA. In an unrelated issue, Isaac Peter has sought images involving a University researcher’s use of mice. The University gathered the images and has already made them available for Mr. Peter to inspect free of charge. However, Mr. Peter now demands to make a copy of the electronic data, in which case the DPA allows the University to recover from Mr. Peter the cost of searching for and retrieving the data. Mr. Peter’s citation to a provision permitting the public to download data free of charge from a government-provided remote access database is irrelevant to the case here, where no such database even exists. For these reasons, the ALDF lawsuit lacks merit.
© 2009-2012 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer Last modified on November 15, 2012

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11/15/12 4:13 PM

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