Transparency News, 1/11/21


 January 11, 2021
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"A university spokesman, would not say why Tech’s interpretation of privacy laws differed from that of the other 111 universities."
SB1171 would cut back the number of industrial development authority and economic development authority directors and members who are now required to file a conflict of interest statements. Currently, everyone has to, but the bill would require it only of those IDAs/EDAs serving communities of 25,000 or more.

Though dozens of Virginia Tech football players contracted COVID-19 last fall, the public may never know the extent of the virus’ reach into Tech athletics. Since August, the university repeatedly has refused to divulge information about the number of COVID-19 cases among athletes and athletic staff, citing a mix of federal and state privacy laws. More recently, Tech declined to release data in response to inquiries from The Roanoke Times after an article last month in The New York Times revealed Tech was one of 19 schools out of 130 colleges in the NCAA that did not provide COVID-19 data to the newspaper for what it called “the most comprehensive public measure of the virus in college sports.” Mark Owczarski, a university spokesman, would not say why Tech’s interpretation of privacy laws differed from that of the other 111 universities. Owczarski said Tech “will not disclose how many athletes, coaches and athletic staff have tested positive for COVID-19,” because “we believe it is consistent with applicable federal and state laws related to maintaining privacy of confidential student and employee records and information.”
The Roanoke Times

Newport News City Council will cancel its work session Tuesday and return to electronic meetings because of increasing coronavirus cases in the region and the current restrictions limiting gatherings to 10 people. Citizens can watch the meeting on the city’s TV channel (Cox 48, Verizon 19), on the city’s website and through Facebook Live. The council will accept comments for the scheduled public hearings via email, voicemail, website and mail. The public comment period for the meeting will open when the meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday and remain available until 7 p.m. Jan. 26. Newport News is the only Hampton Roads city or Peninsula county, that does not stream or post video recordings of its work sessions.
Daily Press

Booker T. Washington died 105 years ago, but his ideas, thoughts and memories are virtually alive in 14 volumes at the University of Virginia, thanks to a digital offshoot of the University Press. Rotunda, the press’ digital label, will publish Washington’s papers under an agreement with the University of Illinois Press, which published the printed version during a 19-year span beginning in 1970. The papers, which encompass the years between 1901 and Washington’s death in 1915, will be searchable and can be used in conjunction with other Rotunda publications in its American History Collection to provide greater context, including the papers of Ulysses S. Grant and Woodrow Wilson.
The Daily Progress