Why "Sunshine" Laws Matter: Emerging Issues for University Governance, Leadership, and Policy

  • Michael K. McLendon Vanderbilt University
Keywords: Higher Education, University Governance, Leadership, Policy


In recent decades, all fifty states adopted open-meetings and records laws as a device for broadening citizen access to public decision-making. These laws, known colloquially as "sunshine" laws, have become significant institutionalized features of higher-education governance and policy. In this essay, we describe recent developments, emerging issues, and important implications of the laws for board performance, presidential selection, and other aspects of university operations.