ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico Foundation is the “fundraising arm of the university,” but it isn’t subject to the same transparency laws as the university, meaning it’s not legally required to provide documents, emails or other information to the public.
A lawsuit filed this week by freelance journalist Daniel Libit, who was raised in Albuquerque but works in Chicago, seeks to change that.
He has the support of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, and his suit is in line with other lawsuits and actions across the nation that have already or are hoping to turn university foundations into agencies subject to the same open records laws as their parent schools.
The foundation says it attempts to be as open as possible but must still protect its donors. It “provides an enormous amount of information about its operations to the public through its website and upon request – including its audited financials, the performance of the endowment and specific funds, the Memorandum of Agreement with UNM, and its tax returns. We strive to be as transparent as possible while protecting the personal financial information (of) individual donors,” spokeswoman Jennifer Kemp said in an email.