Image via WikipediaColorado State University (CSU) was founded in 1870--six years before Colorado attained statehood--as an agricultural college, but it was "digging" by CSU's student newspaper that uncovered an improper gathering of CSU's board of governors in violation of the state's open meeting laws.
CSU's campus publication, The Coloradoan, along with daily newspaper the Pueblo Chieftain, and online news outlet the Colorado Independent, sued CSU under the state's Sunshine Law (Sec. 24-6-402 C.R.S.) to force the university to shed light on the closed-door, decision-making process that resulted in the selection of Joe Blake as Chancellor. Colorado District Court Judge Stephen Schapanski ruled CSU's board of governors met illegally, which prompted the board to settle the open meeting law litigation by releasing audiotapes of the meeting at which Blake was selected and paying the media outlets' legal fees, which totaled $19,000.
According to an account in the Pueblo Chieftain, the May 5, 2009, audiotape of the CSU board of governors' meeting included a discussion about naming fellow board member Blake the lone finalist for the Chancellor slot, at which Chair Doug Jones decried lawmakers' efforts to open up the selection process as "un-Christian." In all, the CSU board met in violation of the Sunshine Law on three occasions during April and May of this year.
CSU offers among its undergraduate programs of study Communications Studies and Technical Journalism. In this case, it was student journalism that "technically" provided a teaching moment for CSU officials on the importance of adhering to the law.