Our View: Public money. Public process.

DKS Editorial Board

When the Stater found out in June that President Lester Lefton would receive a $180,000 bonus, it wanted to find out more about the process for awarding Lefton’s compensation.

The Stater didn’t go looking for a story about public process, but was forced into one by the secrecy demonstrated by the Kent State administration from day one.

Why isn’t this a public process? If the president of the university is doing such great things, it seems strange that university officials would be so tight-lipped about how well he accomplished his goals.

In the past three months, the Stater made multiple attempts to speak to Jacqueline Woods, chair of the Board of Trustees, after being told she was the board’s sole voice. Woods refused and sent a final statement in August that failed to address point-blank questions.

It is unacceptable that multiple public records requests were required just to find out the arguably simple process to evaluate the president.

That Lefton is the only person producing concrete documents for his hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonus money is even more unacceptable.

Kent State is a public university funded by taxpayers, and the taxpayers have a right to know about this process.

Iris Harvey, vice president of university relations, said no one wants to give out information Woods doesn’t want distributed.

Woods is not the gatekeeper, nor is Harvey or anyone else at the university.

Public records are not a matter of discretion. The university has treated them that way for too long.

The above editorial is the consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.