The Autonomous University of Zacatecas is legally challenging a public records request for information on the salaries of four of the university’s former vice-chancellors by arguing that the data is private and confidential. According to El Universal, this is the first case in Mexico in which an institution has used an amparo, or special injunction, to challenge transparency laws. The initial request for information was filed by Ulises Guillermo Gonzalez of the town of Jerez for information related to the amount of money, bonuses, compensations and other forms of payment provided to the four former vice-chancellors: Alfredo Femat Banuelos, Rogelio Cardenas Hernandez, Virgilio Rivera Delgadillo and Jorge Hiriart Estrada.
The University refused to provide the information, saying that it would “put in risk the life of the former university officials,” reported El Universal. The Zacatecas State Commission for the Access to Public Information determined that the information was in fact public, and not private as the university claimed, and gave the university a fixed time frame to provide the information. The university then filed an amparo challenging the state’s transparency law before a Zacatecas tribunal. In response, Guillermo Gonzalez also filed an amparo through a judicial court, claiming the university was acting unconstitutionally.
Since then, Guillermo Gonzalez has obtained legal assistance through a non-governmental organization called Fundar. The governor of Zacatecas, Amalia Garcia Medina, chastized the university for concealing the salary information, noting that the university should respond because it receives state funding. In addition, the president of the Mexican Confederation for Access to Public Information, Cesar Lopez Rodriguez, also equated the university’s lack of responsiveness with a violation of the constitution. The case has been going on for more than five months.
From the Justice in Mexico Project’s August Monthly News Report:
Martinez, Victor. “Universidad se ampara contra ley de Transparencia en Zacatecas.” NTR Zacatecas. July 15, 2009.
Mejia, R. “Universidad se ampara contra ley de Transparencia en Zacatecas.” El Universal. July 15, 2009.
Pescador, Natalia. “Dominguez Garay puede ser destituido por negar informacion.” NTR Zacatecas. July 13, 2009.