A King County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that the UW Board of Regents violated the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) on 24 separate occasions over almost three years.
The board undermined the OPMA by holding dinner meetings at former President Michael Young’s house, in which the meetings were neither open nor public, according to the ruling.
The lawsuit was filed in November 2014 by Don’t Expand UW Primate Animal Testing, a group protesting against the UW’s current and planned animal-testing laboratories.
The ruling was unexpected, according to Amanda Schemkes, a member of the anti-animal testing organization.
“Page three [of the court’s order, typed up by the plaintiff’s lawyers] is handwritten because that was stuff that the lawyers didn’t expect the judge to rule on,” Schemkes said in an email to The Daily, “so they wrote it up at the courthouse after the hearing.”
Judge Laura Inveen’s ruling, injunctive relief — in this case a court-order prohibition against dinner meetings — was determined inappropriate for a specific meeting on Nov. 13, 2013.
At this meeting, a new animal lab was on the board’s agenda, despite only having “dinner for regents and other guests” accessible on the board’s public online agenda.
The following day, the board voted on approving a site and project budget for the Animal Research and Care Facility.
The court stated, however, that it had not yet reached a decision on other requests for injunctive relief.