Crows Nest St. Pete by Nancy McCann
April 23, 2018
It’s been more than two months since a Boston labor lawyer hired by the university met with adjunct faculty on all three campuses and taped a video that was sent to all adjuncts.
But the university still refuses to say how much Katherine Lev was paid or provide any records about her contract.
In emails to The Crow’s Nest and its attorney this month, the university’s spokeswoman and its general counsel repeated the university’s assertion that the records requested by the newspaper are exempt from disclosure under a provision of the state’s Public Records Law.
But the newspaper’s attorney, Alison Steele, responded that the narrow exemption cited by the university “does not apply to contracts between government agencies and outside attorneys, or to such attorneys’ invoices.”
Steele, a veteran media lawyer whose clients include the Tampa Bay Times, urged the administration to “make diligent inquiry to locate and produce its records” related to Lev’s engagement by the university “with substantially greater alacrity than has become its custom.”
At issue is the secrecy surrounding the role of Lev, a lawyer, labor law consultant and adjunct faculty member at Boston College.
Her name emerged as the university system’s 900 adjuncts neared a vote on whether to have a union – the Service Employees International Union – represent them in their quest for better pay and benefits.
The university strongly opposed the union drive at every turn, downplaying the potential benefits for adjuncts and criticizing the SEIU in several emails to adjuncts.
The university also brought in Lev, who had voluntary informational meetings with adjuncts on all three campuses on Feb. 13-15 and taped an eight-minute video that the administration emailed to adjuncts.
Lev and the administration stressed that she was neutral about the union and was retained to provide information and answer questions about unionization and labor law.