Career Spotlight: Sandra Chance (JD 90), UF’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information
If Professor Sandra Chance had her way, every state government would be “in the sunshine.” That is how access advocates describe a government environment that allows public access to courtroom proceedings and government records and meetings. The ultimate goal, Chance said, is government transparency and the public’s right to know.
“First, as citizens, everyone should support freedom of information,” said Chance, executive director of UF’s Joseph L. Brechner Center for Freedom of Information. “We have a right to know about our government and how our government officials are spending our tax dollars. This information allows us to hold our elected officials accountable and protect against government waste, abuse and corruption.”
The Brechner Center is recognized internationally as one of the leading academic institutions dedicated to conducting research and education about open government laws and the importance of transparency in governmental operations and decision-making. Students range from undergraduates and graduate students at the UF College of Journalism and Communications and law students to judges at the National Judicial College. Chance also serves on the advisory boards of the Journal of Law and Public Policy, the Center for Governmental Responsibility, the First Amendment Foundation, and The Florida Bar Media Law Committee.
“While most people think our ‘right-to-know’ laws are for journalists, studies show that businesses are the biggest users of freedom of information laws, so even corporate lawyers find these useful and beneficial,” said Chance, who was named National Teacher of the Year in 2006 by the Scripps Howard Foundation. “Any attorney who works for or with the government in Florida needs to understand the state’s public record and open meetings laws. In fact, anyone who does business with or for the government benefits from government-in-the-sunshine laws.”