Advertising Prof Deb Morrison uses Journalism faculty meeting to accuse Harbaugh of cyberbullying

I wasn’t there, but I’ve received a few emails from Journalism faculty, telling me that Professor of Advertising Deb Morrison used the occasion of a Friday J-School faculty meeting with UO’s VP for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh to assert that I was engaged in cyberbullying.

The official .gov definition is here:

Cyberbullying happens when kids bully each other through electronic technology. Find out why cyberbullying is different from traditional bullying, what you can do to prevent it, and how you can report it when it happens.

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

I sent Prof Morrison an email asking if she’d like to meet for coffee to discuss her statements, and got back this response:

From: Deborah Morrison <>
Subject: Re: cyberbullying?
Date: April 24, 2015 at 11:05:43 PM PDT
To: Bill Harbaugh <>

Wow, that didn’t take long. I did see a few folks look up with a bit of glee during the faculty meeting so I suppose I did my part to keep everyone awake.

As Yvette talked about beautiful ideals of cohesion and collaboration and fairness and problem-solving (I love all of that!), I simply thought here was another problem of academe. We talk about this but no one talks about the reality that your blog and your posse is toxic for the campus community.

I’m sure this is no surprise to you. My take publicly and without anonymity on your blog has been that I’ve often praised you for SAIL and the Lariviere energy. I still appreciate both of those.

But whatever truth you’ve offered on the blog in the past couple years — and there has been some — is totally negated by the meanness, innuendo, libel, belittling, lying, castigation, name-calling, and snark that you’ve thrown out. It’s not fair or healthy. It’s bullying.

I wouldn’t mind having coffee, but it would have to wait til after a big New York trip I’m leading. Spinning plates til then.

Some of Professor Morrison’s previous comments on this blog, anonymous and acknowledged, are available here, related to a panel on public records, at a meeting of the Society of Professional Journalists at UO, with myself and former J-School Dean Tim Gleason:

1) Morrison, commenting as “Unknown”:

Gleason continues to have great support amongst our sojc faculty and industry because of the work he’s done. He’s shown vision and integrity at a time when we needed it most. So stop this nonsense, UOM. Your being asked to speak to the SPJ was disappointing (at the least) and wrongheaded. What you do is nowhere near journalism.

Your value as leader and truth caller has been consistently devalued. Why? Snark, silliness, miscommunication, untruths, slander, lies. It’s meant to degrade and confuse. No one except your posse cares about what you churn out because the agenda is you, not the truth. That’s sad. And most emphatically, it’s not journalism.

2) Morrison, commenting as Morrison:

I hate anonymous posting. It’s probably the lowest point of humanity. So…
I’m UNKNOWN above. I don’t write press releases and this does not call for one. And I don’t want a long harangue with you and your followers, Bill.

But here’s the reality: this is the type of stuff that’s wrong. Gleason is not hostile to Freedom of Information and your post and the subsequent comments imply he is. The crap you’ve said about him and others is unfair and unethical.

That’s what you do: you make work of implications and gossip and innuendo and then you all chew on it as if it’s fact. I’ve praised you very publicly before when you were asking hard questions, especially around the Lariviere issues. I’ve worked with you on SAIL and honor you for that.

But as I noted in the other post, all the strong voice is negated when there’s constant misleading or simply vicious information like this post. The stuff you say about people, the attempts to disembowel and ruin careers, the side remarks that you and dog and old dog and anonymous, etc all peck to death has no value except as venom. You have your followers. But so many (most of whom are not politically active or in the JH culture) are simply turned off by this and see it as ruining the culture and opportunity at this University. There are better ways to solve problems and make things happen.

This is an attempt to be honest. I hope it will be accepted as such.

3) My response:

To Deb Morrison:

This post was my effort to respond to the claims Tim Gleason made at the SPJ conference regarding his history of support for public records and transparency. I thought his claims did not reflect the actual history at UO, where he has actively tried to make it more difficult for reporters and others to get public records.

I have more documentation on that I could post. But I think the post has made that point. Re-reading it, I don’t see anything excessively personal it it, and in contrast there is plenty of substantive information, facts, documentation, and an accurate portrayal of what Gleason said at the session, and how it was received by the reporters present.

In contrast, your comment on this post says:

“But here’s the reality: this is the type of stuff that’s wrong. Gleason is not hostile to Freedom of Information and your post and the subsequent comments imply he is. The crap you’ve said about him and others is unfair and unethical.”

I don’t recall seeing you at the session. Your comment does not include any documentation for your claim that Gleason is not hostile to public records access, or any information that conflicts with anything in my post. Your comment does include a personal attack on me, but you also don’t provide any support for that either.

Obviously Gleason are I are not on friendly terms. You can see this quite clearly in my live-blogging about the union bargaining sessions, or in the “Open Letter” that he helped write, accusing me of being “anti-university”. At least I think he helped write it, UO’s public records office won’t tell me unless I pay them hundreds of dollars in fees, and Gleason won’t answer my questions about it. This is remarkably similar to nasty anonymous blog comments – except those don’t come on official UO letterhead!

Regardless, I don’t think you attended any of those 42 union bargaining meetings either, so you don’t seem to be in a good position to do more than give an opinion about the origins of that mutual animosity either.

That said, I’m happy to provide a place for you to write about me, since I think that opinions, even uninformed and nasty ones, can be an important form of civil speech.

Bill Harbaugh

Daily Emerald reports: Police detain blogger for questioning

That would be in in Ethiopia. UO student reporter Joseph Hoyt has the report in the ODE, here:

On April 25, 2014, Zelalem Kibret was sitting at his computer when he heard a knock at the door. Waiting on the other side stood a group of Ethiopian police officers. Kibret went on Facebook and typed out a quick post to his fellow bloggers, warning them of his imminent arrest. After he clicked “Enter,” Kibret was detained.

Within 15 minutes, all across Ethiopia, five more bloggers were taken into custody. They were taken from homes, classrooms and work and delivered to Maekelawi – an infamous police detention center in Addis Ababa, the country’s capital city.

The prison is known for not allowing its inhabitants to see the sun.

Over 8,000 miles away, in his Eugene, Oregon apartment, another Ethiopian blogger was stressed about finishing a class paper. It was getting late and deadline was approaching. Endalk Chala, 33, took a break from his essay and browsed Facebook to procrastinate.

Kibret’s post was waiting for him when he logged on. Frustration and anger smacked Chala like a quick jab. Then reality crept into his mind.

He was stuck in America.

Counseling Center Director Kerr exposes student records because she cares

Article by Pulitzer Prize-winning Oregonian journalist Rich Read, here. The State Legislature is doing its best to clean up the mess created by the UO General Counsel’s office and Counseling Center Director Shelly Kerr when she gave Jane Doe’s counseling reports to the GC:

A lawmaker who led the Oregon Senate to a unanimous vote better protecting sexual-assault victims said Thursday she’s not done making the University of Oregon and other institutions boost patient confidentiality.

Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, said she’d work next session to strengthen privacy provisions at institutions such as UO, where the campus counseling center recently weakened its confidentiality guarantees without public notice. Gelser amended the bill before passage Wednesday to tighten requirements in response to an April 8 story by The Oregonian/OregonLive, which reported that the center had quietly diluted privacy safeguards.

Students across the nation have grown leery of campus counseling clinics after the UO center gave lawyers confidential therapy records of a student who was allegedly gang-raped March 9, 2014, by three university basketball players. The unidentified woman has sued the university and men’s basketball coach Dana Altman. The three players were never criminally charged.

There’s still no word on what Doug Park’s office has done to ensure the confidentiality of their electronic copies of the counseling records. I suggest returning them to Jane Doe’s lawyer on a “zip drive”.

Kerr told the Oregonian that she decides on the confidentiality of student records on the basis of “public relations” and the “political landscape”, and then takes the fall for Frances Bronet, blaming her mistakes on her own excessive focus on the students. Really.

“We were on trains on seemingly parallel tracks that suddenly managed to crash into each other,” Kerr said. “That’s my fault.”

“I was focused on the students, and had I looked at the political and PR landscape, I probably would have paused and asked some additional questions,” Kerr said.

Kerr worked with her assistant director and a university lawyer to revise her clinic’s “Confidentiality and Privacy Policy.” She said: “It ended up undermining and seeming to be at odds with the provost, even though that was never what we intended to do.”

Kerr also said that despite its title, the new statement is “not really a policy.” Instead it’s a description of the clinic’s practice, she said.

Does Kerr, who is in charge of a center training graduate students at UO and interns from Ph.D. programs at other universities who come for training, hold special seminars to help future psychologists learn how to integrate “public relations” into their counseling duties? Do GTFs at the University of Oregon receive an education that is unavailable at other universities, on how the handling of the confidential records of patients can be used to respond to the “political landscape” of the institution the future psychologists will be working for?

A search of the UO course catalog has failed to turn up any seminar at the University Counseling and Testing Center titled “Public Relations for Shrinks” or “Patient Records and Politics.” Perhaps a joint degree between the Department of Political Science and the Counseling Center could be offered — Politics and Psychology.

Coltrane sidesteps Senate on Sexual Assault Advisory Council

Coltrane’s call for nominations is here:

Call for nominations to new Sexual Assault Advisory Council


As part of the comprehensive initiatives to address sexual assault, the university is seeking nominations for a new Sexual Assault Advisory Council. This group will play a key role in advancing the university’s comprehensive plan to improve its practices in preventing and responding to sexual assault and ensuring the campus is respectful and safe for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

In the summer of 2014, the President’s Review Panel assessed the prevention, support, and response practices to reduce sexual violence and better support survivors at the University of Oregon. The final report summarizes the group’s findings and lists recommendations for a comprehensive approach to preventing and responding to sexual assault. …

Three faculty members, all appointed by the President, nothing about consulting with the Senate.

Governor Brown reappoints all UO Trustees, including Susan Gary (Law)

The Oregonian has the story, here.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 8.17.46 PM

The reappointment of Gary is a bit of a slap in the face to the UO Senate, which voted unanimously on March 11 to reject the decision by Board Chair Chuck Lillis and Interim President Scott Coltrane to recommend that Gary be reappointed as the sole faculty trustee, without consulting first with the faculty.

Gary has been away on sabbatical all year, the board did not even put her on the presidential search committee, and she has done little to keep the faculty informed about important Board decisions such as the delegation of authority, policy on policies, etc.


1.1 WHEREAS in 2013 the State of Oregon established the University Board of Trustees as the governing board of the University of Oregon[i]; and

1.2 WHEREAS section 6.1(c) of SB 270, which established the board, gives the Governor authority to appoint board members, subject to confirmation by the Oregon Senate, and states that “the governing board must include one person who is a member of the faculty of the university”[ii]; and

1.3 WHEREAS the law does not give the University President or Board of Directors any special role in making nominations to the Governor; and

1.4 WHEREAS the purpose of including a faculty member is to represent the views and interests of the faculty, not those of other bodies or persons; and

1.5 WHEREAS the interim President of the University and the President of the Board have made recommendations to the Governor without asking the opinion of faculty members; and

1.6 WHEREAS the term of the current Faculty Trustee expires on June 20, 2015;

Section II

2.1 BE IT THEREFORE MOVED that the UO Senate Nominating Committee shall solicit nominations for the position of Faculty Trustee; and …

University administrators submit resignation letters as part of transition

Kellie Woodhouse of InsideHigherEd has the story, here:

At most universities, vice presidents and other executives are at-will employees and serve at the behest of the school’s leader.

“You don’t get to keep the job even though you may not be compatible with the desires of the new president,” Sharp said. “No one expects the new president to choose them just because they’ve been working there before. These are very high-level positions. These are not positions that are lifetime jobs.”

The letter, he says, formalizes an already existing practice of new presidents culling their leadership team. Sharp said about 15 vice presidents and advisers have been asked to submit letters.
“It’s easier on the president. It causes a lot less conflict,” he explained. “This makes sure that everyone understands the rules of the game.”

This is at Texas A&M. At UO, presidential staff typically sign one-year contracts, and VP’s and such get 3-year contracts. The timing of the contract renewals is particularly awkward for the transition. New President Michael Schill starts on July 1. But the JH administration contracts expire June 30th, and are typically renewed a few weeks before that. So Schill may well get stuck with JH staff and VPs that he can only fire if he buys out their contract.

The worst example of this I know of was former UO Provost Jim Bean. Interim President Bob Berdahl knew Bean wasn’t up to the job, but gave him a three year renewal just before he left office – apparently as a parting stick-in-the-eye to the faculty. The Senate exploded, and in the face of demands for a performance review and a threatened no-confidence vote new President Mike Gottfredson had to replace him with Scott Coltrane, and then still pay Bean for another two years.

Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee needs new members

Interested in big-time college sports? Want to help provide faculty oversight of the Duck athletic empire? You should run for election to the Senate IAC.

The full list of open positions for the Senate, the IAC, and other committees is here. Open IAC positions:

Intercollegiate Athletics – 13 openings (length of service: 2 years, 1 year for students)

5 Teaching Faculty

CAS – 3 openings

Professional Schools – 2 openings

1 Classified Staff

2 UO Senate Representatives

5 Students

50 hour a week job leaves PAC-12 athletes too tired to study

Dennis Dodd of CBS obtained a copy of the survey – which the PAC-12 tried to keep secret – and has a report here:

NCAA rules restrict athletes’ time spent on their particular sport to 20 hours per week. The study showed that limit is being violated in the Pac-12 but only slightly (average of 21 hours). The other 29 hours accounting for the 50 include voluntary practices, medical treatment and traveling activities that don’t count toward the current limit.

I wonder where UO FARs Jim O’Fallon (Law) and Tim Gleason (Journalism) are on this?

ADDITIONAL RETRACTION of claim Coltrane got Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on Archives release.

4/20/2015:  The original title of this post was Klinger says archivists “resigned”, Coltrane got Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on Archives release, no followup from Coltrane on deleted docs.

As explained below, on 4/3/2015 I retracted my statement that Interim President Coltrane got Sharon Rudnick to rewrite Amanda Walkup’s report on the Archives release, in response to an email from Coltrane. In response to the demands for retraction I have received from Mr. William F. Gary of HLGR, posted below and here, I am also retracting my statement that Ms Rudnick rewrote Ms Walkup’s report. My statement was not factually supported, I retract it, and I regret publishing it.

4/3/2015: The original title of this post was Klinger says archivists “resigned”, Coltrane got Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on Archives release, no followup from Coltrane on deleted docs.

As explained below, I am retracting the claim that Interim President Coltrane got Sharon Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on the Archives release.My statement was not factually supported, I retract it, and I regret publishing it.

On March 26 Bill Gary of the HLGR law firm, which Scott Coltrane has inexplicably left in charge of UO’s legal affairs, demanded that I retract the claim that Interim President Coltrane got Sharon Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on the Archives release. See below for the link to Rudnick’s summary of the report, and the retraction demand and back and forth here. Apparently Gary is OK with this post on a potential conflict of interest between HLGR’s OUS billings and Gary and Rudnick’s work on the release of Randy Geller’s memo on dissolving the Senate.

Today I received the this email from Interim President Coltrane:

Dear Professor Harbaugh,

Thank you for calling my attention to recent posts you have made on your blog in which you have claimed that “Coltrane got Rudnick to rewrite Amanda Walkup’s report on Archives release”. You ask whether Mr. Gary represents me in connection with a comment he posted on your blog. Mr. Gary does not represent me. Nor do I see anything in his comments suggesting that he does. However, now that I have seen the fabrications that you have posted, I am beginning to wonder whether I should ask him to represent me.

Let me be clear: I did not ask Sharon Rudnick to rewrite Amanda Walkup’s report and Sharon Rudnick did not do so. Posting false and defamatory comments of this kind can do great damage, not only to those you defame, but also to the university. I join Mr. Gary in asking that you retract these false statements. This is especially true at this time when we are trying to rebuild trust in shared governance.

Sincerely, Scott Coltrane

ORS 31.120 gives news organizations 2 weeks to retract allegedly false and defamatory statements, before they can be sued for defamation. Given Coltrane’s email, I am retracting the claim that Interim President Coltrane got Sharon Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on the Archives release. Here’s is my email to Coltrane:

Dear Interim President Coltrane

Thank you for clearing this up. I have posted a formal retraction of the claim that you got Ms Rudnick to rewrite the Walkup report, at

In regards to your efforts to improve trust in shared governance, I agree these have been significant. However, UO’s Public Records Office is still using delays, fees and redactions to prevent the release of public records. 

I don’t think that there is going to much of an increase in trust in the Johnson Hall administration, by the UO Community, reporters, or the state at large, until you address that problem.


Bill Harbaugh

3/25/2015: And Library Dean Adriene Lim wants $210 to reveal docs on prior reviews of archives.

Meanwhile, no follow through on promises from Coltrane or Library Dean Lim to the UO Senate that they would look into larger problems with UO’s transparency and refusal to provide public records, or explain what happened to the documents on athletic subsidies and the Knight Arena – and so much more – that are missing from the digital presidential archives.

Under Oregon State’s library privacy policy, it’s Library Dean Lim that would be in trouble, for telling the administration that I had accessed the digital Presidential Archives:

OSU Libraries treat patron information as strictly confidential to the extent permitted by law. It is generally for the use of library staff only; it can, of course, be divulged to the patron. Unless required by law, patron information is not to be given to non-library individuals, including parents, friends, professors, university administrators, police, FBI, university security staff, or the CIA. The university librarian is responsible for compliance with legal obligations and court orders.

3/25/2015: Diane Dietz has more in the RG, here:

UO economics professor Bill Harbaugh got the records from the archives and he returned them in late January at the request of the UO administration. Harbaugh is publisher of the insider blog.

The administration’s role in the departure of the archivists is “despicable,” he said.

“This is all about (administrators) being embarrassed,” he said. “They tried to nail me. They couldn’t because of tenure and academic freedom, and so they went after the people they could nail.”

The archivists were just doing their job when they provided the documents, Harbaugh said.

They required Harbaugh to agree to the library’s standard disclaimer, which warns researchers that archives may contain sensitive or confidential information that may be protected by privacy laws and other regulations. It warns the researcher that releasing private information without consent could have legal ramifications.

“They say ‘Look, there’s boxes and boxes of stuff. We haven’t screened it all. We’ll let you look through it, but you’ve got to agree to this confidentiality deal. I agreed to that,” Harbaugh said. “They behaved very ethically.”

Archivists abide by a professional obligation to balance access to public records with confidentiality, Harbaugh said.

“People don’t go into this kind of work without believing in the importance of access. They’re researchers, they’re historians, they use these kinds of records to do their own scholarly work. They know it’s important that this material be maintained and made accessible. I’m really proud of them. They did their job,” he said.

Here’s my email to Library Dean Adriene Lim on this:

Subject: “The Incident”
From: Bill Harbaugh
Date: March 18, 2015 at 12:18:48 AM EDT
To: Adriene Lim <>

Dear Dean Lim, Associate Dean Bonamici, and members of the Library Committee -

Thank you for allowing me to attend your meeting today.

At the meeting Andrew Bonamici said that, in the interests of balancing confidentiality and public access, and the impossibility of inspecting every document individually, that the UO archives had policies or procedures for allowing researchers access to files and folders from the archives that had not been fully reviewed for confidentiality. This access was conditional on researchers agreeing not to make confidential documents public. (This is not verbatim, it’s my recollection of the gist of what Andrew said.)

I don’t know what you’ve been told about how I got the digital Presidential Archives, but there was nothing nefarious about it. I sent the special collections reference desk a request for information on how to access the digital archives. I was told that the digital archives might contain confidential documents protected by FERPA or other laws, and that if I agreed not to release those documents, I should send in a usb key and I would get the archives.

[Here’s the disclaimer language: Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.]

I agreed to this condition. I sent in the usb key. I got the documents back. I kept the confidential documents confidential, as I had promised.

It strikes me that this is exactly the procedure that Andrew explained today should have been followed by the archives. It was followed.

So, what is this controversy all about? I only posted two documents. No one has made a credible case for either being confidential. One, of course, was very embarrassing to the General Counsel’s office, and, in my opinion, that’s why the UO administration went after me, and the archivists.

Bill Harbaugh
UO Prof of Economics

I thought the whole point of hiring Amanda Walkup from Hershner Hunter to do the investigation was to provide some sense of independence and credibility. But no, check the metadata on the otherwise anonymous report Tobin Klinger has released to the press. UO also hired Randy Geller’s HLGR law firm, and Sharon Rudnick wrote the final report. [Note, added at 3/26 2:46PM: By “final report” I mean the publicly released version.] Presumably JH didn’t like what Walkup had to say:

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 5.46.39 PM

Here’s the text of Rudnick’s report, original word document here, check the document info:

Background: University Records
All of the University’s records are subject to various requirements relating to the maintenance and disclosure of those records. They fall into two categories:
1) non-permanent records, which are subject to retention and destruction according to the University’s Records Retention Schedule, and
2) permanent records, which are accessioned and housed in the University Archives.
In each category, records may be further designated as exempt from public disclosure under Oregon’s Public Records Act, or non-exempt and therefore subject to disclosure.
Permanent Records: Permanent records have historical significance and are designated for permanent retention according to the Records Retention Schedule. When records are no longer active (e.g., in regular use by the originating department), stewardship is transferred to the University Archives. Once accessioned by the Archives, records are processed, described in finding aids, and made available in perpetuity for research and other purposes. In most (but not all) cases, permanent archival records are non-exempt, and once processed, are available to researchers without need for further review or redaction.

Non-Permanent Records: Stewardship of non-permanent records is retained by the originating department. Records are retained for various lengths of time as required by the Secretary of State’s Records Retention Schedule. Pursuant to the public records law, non-permanent records are categorized as exempt or non-exempt from public disclosure. For example, “faculty records” are considered exempt from disclosure. Non-permanent records are not accessioned by the University Archives, and the library is not authorized to determine if or when to release these records. The library offers a limited long-term storage program for inactive non-permanent records, but this is a strictly custodial role. Non-permanent records in storage remain accessible only to authorized staff from the originating department, or to the Public Records Office in response to research requests.
Timeline on Records Release Incident
• On November 13, 2014, a faculty member sent an email to the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) reference desk asking for a list or catalog showing what sort of information is available in the Library Archives regarding presidential papers, and information about how to go about accessing them.
• Those records had been transferred to the Libraries by the Office of the President, but permanent and non-permanent records had not been separated based on an exception granted to the unit by the Libraries, and the permanent records had not yet been processed and described — a necessary step before documents are made available in response to such a request.
• In response to the email, approximately 25,000 un-processed electronic records relating to past and current UO presidents were provided to the faculty member on a USB drive on December 3, 2014.
• The records included both permanent (i.e. archival) and non-permanent records, including student and faculty records designated confidential by federal law, state law, or both, privileged communications, and documents that are exempt from disclosure under the Public Records law.
• The University learned of the release of the records and its scope in early January, 2015.
• The University contacted the faculty member who received the records in November 2014, and this individual ultimately returned the records on January 28, 2015 for appropriate processing.
• The University sorted the records and organized them according to university policy and procedures— mainly sorting permanent records from non-permanent records.
• With the initial review and organizing of the documents complete, the University is creating a special team to review and redact information that would be protected under state and federal law so the records can be available through the appropriate channels. This process will take an additional 500 hours.
• Once this work is complete, the University will make all appropriate records available to those who have made public records requests for them. Permanent records will be processed by UO Archives and stored in the University’s Archives. Non-permanent records will be retained according to the Secretary of State’s retention schedule.
• The records were released to the faculty member prior to the customary separation and processing required by UO Libraries, University of Oregon, State of Oregon, and federal policies, procedures, and statutes.
• Records released included information, including student names and addresses, which are protected under state and federal law (FERPA and HIPAA).
• The records were returned, and appropriate review and processing is being expedited by the University to ensure full compliance with rules, code of ethics, and all federal and state laws.

, revised 3/24/15

Patrick Henry on Public Records

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them. The most iniquitous plots may be carried on against their liberty and happiness.

I am not an advocate for divulging indiscriminately all the operations of government, though the practice of our ancestors, in some degree, justifies it.

Such transactions as relate to military operations or affairs of great consequence, the immediate promulgation of which might defeat the interests of the community, I would not wish to be published, till the end which required their secrecy should have been effected. But to cover with the veil of secrecy the common routine of business, is an abomination in the eyes of every intelligent man, and every friend to his country.

Patrick Henry, Speech On the Expediency of Adopting the Federal Constitution, Delivered in the Convention of Virginia (June 9, 1788)