The Corner

Annenberg Restrictions and/or Tampering

Has any material from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge records been redacted, removed, or destroyed since my dispute with the library began? The answer is: I do not know. I don’t know if UIC simply determined that it had legal authority to open the materials, without further agreement from the donor, or whether UIC is making this material available only after having restricted some material, at the donor’s request. Obviously, I will be on the lookout when I view the records for evidence of tampering, or of, say, names in critical places being blacked out. I will also be able to compare folders indicated by the “finding aid” with what is made available to me.

But as of now, I simply know nothing of what might or might not have happened to the records in the past ten days, or about what further agreements and restrictions may have been laid on the material at the behest of the donor in the past few days. I have not yet seen UIC’s actual statement announcing the release of the records. According to the following note from the Chicago Sun-Times: “Friday, UIC said it had fulfilled the terms of the gift and plans to make the records available Tuesday.” So what exactly are “the terms of the gift?” What restrictions might that entail, and will these restrictions perhaps already have barred me from access to key portions of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge records? At this point, I simply cannot answer that question.

Last Monday afternoon I filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking to see all communications between UIC and the donor regarding the Chicago Annenberg Challenge records. That FOIA request is still active, and is supposed to receive a response within seven working days. This may provide some clues to the mystery. Presumably, it would likely also reveal the name of the donor.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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