Thursday, May 26, 2011
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) officials have agreed to subject foundations affiliated with their systems to the California Public Records Act. According to the article, CSU has at least 23 such foundations, which raise money for CSU campuses, and UC has 10 such foundations, one for each of its campuses. Together these foundations manage billions of dollars in assets. Pressure for such disclosure apparently arose in the wake of the revelation that a CSU-affiliated foundation had hired former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to speak at a fundraiser for an amount ($75,000) that the foundation refused to disclose until ordered to do so by a court. The deal would also apply to auxiliary enterprises associated with CSU; UC auxiliaries already are subject to the Act. It will be codified through legislation sponsored by state Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco). At least one major sticking point had been disclosure of donors' identities, but the most recent bill would require such disclosure only if a donor received a gift or service from the university valued at $2,500 or more, won a non-bid contract within five years of the donation, or, according to Senator Yee's press release on the deal, sought to influence curriculum or university operations.