NIU Must Think We Have Enough Info on College Town Partners Already

The latest in the College Town Partners saga is that NIU has apparently changed its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) policy. It now favors heavy redaction.

The following is NIU’s response this week to a FOIA request made by Misty Haji-Sheikh of the north Fifth Ward group called Preserve Our Neighborhoods.

Click on the Twitter image for the full-sized view.

Only two bits of meaningful information are left: the subject matter and the recipient of the email. The city would have us believe that its newbie city manager wasn’t really involved in College Town Partners, but now one could reasonably assume Gaura has swum in the thick of things since early in her tenure — or perhaps even before that.

Let’s look at some more.

Additional participants are listed below. Also, look at the date — evidence that work on the CPT project was still going strong in May despite the ringleaders’ failure to own it.

But to back up a bit, let’s see where this idea came from:

The FOIA exemptions used to justify the redaction are as follows:

(b) Private information, unless disclosure is required by another provision of this Act, a State or federal law or a court order.
(f) Preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations, memoranda and other records in which opinions are expressed, or policies or actions are formulated, except that a specific record or relevant portion of a record shall not be exempt when the record is publicly cited and identified by the head of the public body.
(i) Valuable formulae, computer geographic systems, designs, drawings and research data obtained or produced by any public body when disclosure could reasonably be expected to produce private gain or public loss.

The response also notes that NIU has withheld documents considered drafts (i.e., memoranda of understanding and other agreements) in their entirety.