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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2007
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2-year college chancellor tells employees to restrict data

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Gov. Bob Riley says he disagrees with interim two-year college system Chancellor Renee Culverhouse's call for postsecondary employees not to release certain information about the system.

Culverhouse sent a letter last week reminding employees that releasing certain information is "outside the department's rules and procedures" and criticized media scrutiny as "seeking to discredit our great system," The Birmingham News reported Tuesday.

Riley, who by office is president of the state school board, said Culverhouse should welcome information from system employees about possible wrongdoing and that she should release to the public as much of it as possible.

"It's my opinion that the last thing the two-year system should do is slow the process of releasing records," Riley said.

Culverhouse sent the letter after the newspaper published a story about a draft report on problems at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa.

Investigating

The investigative team sent to Shelton by former interim Chancellor Thomas Corts questioned the hiring of legislators and relatives of college officials, the issuing of scholarships by President Rick Rogers to friends, and the use of school money to build a home Rogers lives in.

Efforts to reach Culverhouse for comment failed, the newspaper said.

State Rep. Steve McMillan, R-Orange Beach, said college employees are protected by the state's whistleblower law.

"When everybody in the state knows there's an investigation going on, here's the head of the two-year system trying to stifle employees," McMillan said. "It's appalling."

Riley said he believes media scrutiny will help resolve problems in the system, even if the media report on draft documents that are not complete.

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Information from: The Birmingham News

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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