By: Bill Bosher
It seems that the UVA Board of Visitors has a propensity to generate news or, perhaps, the media is zealous in assuming that UVA is a constant stream of intriguing stories. In either instance, the recent discussion of a policy that would, as reported, muzzle members of the Board who disagree with its decisions raises concerns.
Having served on multiple university and state boards, some issues are protected under the Freedom of Information Act. Executive sessions usually involve personnel cases, litigation…and frequently the acquisition of property. Dissent behind closed doors should remain behind closed doors. However, when public decisions are made, the right of every board member to acknowledge his or her position should be a "no brainer".
Since most decisions must be made with a quorum and in a public meeting, how would the "will" of a board be known unless the board members had "counted heads" in a private poll? While the "sunshine" laws often prevent board members from being able to think…or ponder…an issue without public scrutiny, it seems that doing the people's business requires deliberation in front of the people. One person's dissenter may be another's hero. As history has proven, a minority voice is not necessarily a wrong voice.