Virginia Reverses Course on Public Disclosure Requirements for Department Chairs

In December the MLA sent a letter to Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia, to express concern about an executive order requiring certain faculty members at state universities to make public detailed statements of their economic interests. The MLA Executive Council affirmed the importance of public disclosure for “employees with independent budgetary and policy-making authority” but asserted that those who chair academic departments or direct programs “have little discretion over decisions that could lead to the practices the new requirements are designed to prevent” and that they should therefore be exempt from the disclosure requirements. The MLA is gratified that a new Virginia General Assembly ethics bill, which will go into effect in July, exempts chairs from having to file these disclosure forms.