UB Foundation needs to be more transparent
As a colleague in the Buffalo legal community and a fellow alumnus of the UB Law School, I feel compelled to respond to Francis Letro’s Another Voice appearing in The News on March 8 concerning the University at Buffalo Foundation (UBF) and its rejection of recent calls for transparency.
The UB American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapter’s recent “White Paper” calling on the UBF to open its books to public disclosure and accountability did not, as Letro inaccurately stated, “malign” anyone. It simply sought public disclosure of information that should long ago have been made public. The recent decision by the New York State Committee on Open Government, the existing legal requirements in more than a half dozen states that regulate foundations affiliated with public universities and the strong and laudatory recent News editorial calling for greater transparency all support the position advanced by the UB AAUP chapter.
What is so subversive about seeking public transparency for an entity that conducts its business in the name of a public university and solicits donations from the public on behalf of that university? As the White Paper asks: What is there to hide? Letro’s column says, in effect, “Just trust us.” But beyond his profession of good faith, he provides no evidence that UBF is acting in the best interests of the university and the community or that its governance is democratic and open.
I am proud of the fact that the law school is part of the State University of New York, a public institution. As such, I believe its administration should be kept out of private and essentially unaccountable hands.
John Ned Lipsitz, Esq.