Court of Appeals allows door to administrative searches to remain closed

MICHIGAN — The Michigan Court of Appeals has declared moot a case that seeks to open the presidential search process of state postsecondary institutions.

The court ruled in Great Lakes Media v. Oakland University Board of Trustees, No. 185433 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 7, 1997), that the suit against Oakland University was moot due to the passage of two Michigan Senate bills to close administrative searches at state schools, and also because Oakland University had chosen a president by that point.

The two new Michigan laws that were signed by Gov. John Engler in December allow for closed search committees and amend the state’s freedom of information law to close presidential searches further.

The suit against Oakland University to open the search process was originally filed in March of 1995 by the Oakland Press, the local newspaper in Oakland County.

The Oakland County Circuit Court had ruled in favor of the newspaper, stating that closed searches only heighten the distrust of government, and can lead to the extreme violent paranoia of government displayed by the bombing in Oklahoma City.