When Missouri Southern State University President Dr. Bruce Speck announced the elimination of the Child Development Center and the men's soccer program Thursday, the first question that came to my mind was a simple one.
How in the world could the Board of Governors make this decision without discussing it in an open session? After all, this is a far-reaching decision that adversely affects a number of lives. These people and their supporters deserved an opportunity to have their say in front of the board...and more importantly, they had a right to look the board members in the eyes as the cuts were made.
And why in the world has the traditional media rolled over and not asked this question? As far as I can determine, the local television stations, Joplin Globe and Carthage Press have not asked the question. My understanding is the question will be posed, if it has not been already, by the campus newspaper, The Chart.
It is not hard to predict what university officials' response will be- The deliberations and decision could be made in secrecy because it involved the jobs of identifiable workers. Sorry, but that is not the way the Sunshine Law works. If you are talking about hiring and firing specific workers for cause, or if you are talking about making decisions to eliminate certain workers from a department during hard economic times, those are things that can be discussed behind closed doors.
That does not cover this situation.
Eliminating programs is something that must be discussed and voted on in open session. The decision by a board, which is headed by a lawyer who should know better (and probably does) is shameful.