Marcus Clem, letter to the editor after winning Kansas Open Records case against JCCC

Link: http://blogs.jccc.edu/campusledger/2011/12/01/web-exclusive-letter-to-the-editor/

WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Letter to the Editor

In OpEd, Web-exclusive on December 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm

November 30, 2011

From the desk of:

Marcus Clem

913-897-1270

marcusclem@gmail.com

18050 Canterbury Drive

Stilwell, Kansas 66085

 

Letter to the Editor of The Campus Ledger

 

Dear editor,

 

As your readers will be aware by the coverage The Ledger has suitably focused upon the concerned events, Johnson County Community College has decided to reach a settlement with me in my lawsuit against them that I have pursued regarding information that was sought concerning the “resignation” of Jason Rozelle. This effort was made in conjunction with the assistance of the law firm Bryan Cave LLP and the Student Press Law Center. I would like to relay my boundless gratitude toward my partners in these organizations, specifically Christopher Grenz, Mike Hiestand, and Frank LoMonte. Without their advice and support, none of this would have been possible.

 

I must admit, the decision on the part of the college to settle out of court with me is a personally gratifying event. Nearly a year of effort has produced what can only be defined as total success. Not only was the college forced to completely reverse their position on the cost obtaining the emails that we have sought, but they have also decided to change their policy in order to simplify the process of future open records cases. These reforms were pursued as part of our suit, and I would like to thank the college’s administration for the wisdom they have shown in agreeing to these changes.

 

Despite what I can only describe as elation over this matter, however, frustration and anger over how this process has unfolded remains. None of it was necessary. If the college had handled the matter properly, we would have received the requested emails as part of the open records process. I cannot be more clear on that matter; it took some months of effort and patience that the average citizen cannot afford, and ultimately the threat of punitive legal action, to get the college to comply with state law.

 

Even once a suit had been filed, a month and a half of going back and forth in negotiations played out without need or justification. During that process, the college’s leadership, rather than addressing the matter at hand, chose to attack my personal credibility and that of other involved individuals. Specifically, it would be prudent for Dr. Terry Calaway, college president, to apologize for what can only be described as childish misconduct and dishonesty, in suggesting that I only pursued this matter for personal reasons, and that the suit was in keeping with a record of problems that I’ve supposedly caused over the past several years. This man speaks for the college, as he too often forgets.

 

The main concern at hand, however, has been resolved, and I will go on to greater things with my head held high. I wish the best to The Ledger and all of my good friends who work there, with the hope that the changes my efforts have produced will ensure that the newspaper continues to operate as the informer and advocate for JCCC’s students and constituents.

 

Good luck.

 

Marcus Clem

Former JCCC Student Journalist

 

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