Director of Tully Free Speech Center Says Syracuse Newspaper is Within its Legal Rights for Lawsuit
The Director of the Tully Center for Free Speech at the Newhouse School feels that the Syracuse Post-Standard is within its legal right to sue Onondaga Community College to access information. The paper recently published an editorial explaining exactly why it wants the details of a confidentiality agreement reached between the college and a former OCC basketball coach to be disclosed. Associate Professor Roy Gutterman says the newspaper reacted properly.
"This is textbook First Amendment doctrine of the press being a watchdog, a guard dog and the eyes and ears of the public."
The way OCC has remained quiet on the matter makes Gutterman believe that some type of a cover-up was involved.
"It's important to reiterate there's a pretty important underlying issue that this basketball coach got involved in here. And the fact that the public doesn't know how government officials are dealing with this sort of controversy is an important issue."
A group of six Onondaga County Lawmakers also went public with their thoughts about the case in their own published editorial in the paper. Tom Buckel says confidentiality agreements are widely used and abused.
"Rumor mongering at the forefront as opposed to an open and transparent discussion of the facts. If those things happened, the administration and the board ought to account for whether they were right or wrong and not hide from them."
Buckel adds that he thinks the college has wrongly protected administrators instead of the public which partly funds the college with taxpayer money. The Tully Center’s Gutterman says the case begins at the district court level and he predicts that it could now advance to the Second-Circuit Court of Appeals. He says OCC’s leadership has taken a one day news story and literally transformed it into a federal issue.