STU taken to court over RTI request

    The Federation of New Brunswick Faculty Associations is taking St. Thomas University to court over the university’s refusal to release details of severance agreements of three administrators between 2012 and 2013.
    Jeffery Carleton, director of communications for STU, said the information the federation wants is considered confidential by the right to information act..
    “We received an access to information request from the federation in January 2014, asking for financial information on a number of positions at the university,” said Carleton. “We provided all of that information except for a piece of information that we considered to be confidential under the access to information legislation of the province.”
    Jean Sauvageau, the president of the federation, maintains the information should be released to the public.
    “They say, ‘We can’t release it.’ So it makes you want to know even more,” said Sauvageau. “When you’re told no you cannot know despite the fact that the law, and the privacy commissioner, made very clear that every one is entitled publicly to know this information.”
    While neither Sauvageau or Carleton were able to name the exact positions of the administrators, Sauvageau gave some indication of where they were on the university ladder.
    “You could say upper on the ladder,” said Sauvageau. “We don’t have a very long ladder here at St. Thomas.”
    Sauvageau said it’s important for these numbers to be released because sometimes they show numbers that are interesting.
    “In some cases we found some very interesting information in terms of how much money on top of their salaries, the presidents in particular, were receiving,” said Sauvageau.
    Sauvageau said the university may be unwilling to reveal the information because they didn’t think the numbers through properly.
    “Maybe they went a little too fast in making promises when they signed the agreements with these people,” said Sauvageau.
    In the Telegraph-Journal Sauvageau remarked that universities tend to comply with the RTI request before the case is heard in open court. He does not think it will be the same this time.
    “They seemed to have made up their mind to take it all the way to court,” said Sauvageau
    Carleton, on this point, is in agreement.
    “We’ve filed our documents today with the Court of Queen’s Bench,” said Carleton.
    The case is scheduled to be heard in Fredericton on Oct. 1 before the Court of Queen’s Bench.