The The Chronicle of Higher Education has more:
The university's response could set up a battle over what public records it must divulge.
The open-records request made by Mr. Thompson and a similar request directed at Michigan's three largest public universities by the free-market-oriented Mackinac Center for Public Policy are being denounced by the American Association of University Professors and others in academe as likely to chill academic freedom. But the phrase "academic freedom" appears nowhere in any state's list of allowable reasons for public colleges to turn down records requests, according to a database maintained by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Citing a need to protect "academic freedom" is, in itself, unlikely to help the universities avoid complying with requests for e-mails under state open-records laws, according to several national experts on academic freedom and records laws contacted this week by The Chronicle.
Although federal law prevents the disclosure of much information on individual students contained in such e-mails, and many states' records laws have exceptions for e-mails that are purely personal in nature or deal with unpublished research, closed meetings, or personnel decisions, there are no blanket exceptions intended to protect faculty members from efforts to obtain the sorts of e-mails covered under the Wisconsin and Michigan open-records requests.