Public Records Policy

12210.1 Introduction

It is the policy of Wright State University that openness leads to a better informed citizenry, which leads to better government and better public policy. It is the policy of Wright State University to strictly adhere to the state’s Public Records Act. All exemptions to openness are to be construed in their narrowest sense and any denial of public records in response to a valid request must be accompanied by an explanation, including legal authority, as outlined in the Ohio Revised Code. If the request is in writing, the explanation must also be in writing.

12210.2 Public Records

Wright State University, in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, defines records as including the following: Any document – paper, electronic (including, but not limited to, e-mail), or other format – that is created or received by, or comes under the jurisdiction of a public office that documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office. All records of Wright State University are public unless they are specifically exempt from disclosure under the Ohio Revised Code. Exemptions under Ohio Revised Code 149 include but are not limited to student education records, medical records, records of ongoing police investigations, and proprietary or trade secret information.

  1. It is the policy of Wright State University that, records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying. Any questions about records access should be referred to the Office of General Counsel.

12210.3 Record Requests

General Counsel should be consulted by the office receiving a public records request as soon as possible prior to responding to the request.

  1. Although no specific language is required to make a request, the requester must at least identify the records requested with sufficient clarity to allow the office to identify, retrieve, and review the records. If it is not clear what records are being sought, the records custodian must contact the requester for clarification, and should assist the requestor in revising the request by informing the requestor of the manner in which the office keeps its records.

  2. Generally, the requester does not have to put a records request in writing, and does not have to provide his or her identity or the intended use of the requested public record. However, Wright State University may ask that a request be put in writing if to do so would enhance the ability of the University to comply with the request.

  3. Public records are to be available for inspection during regular business hours, with the exception of published holidays. Copies of public records must be made available promptly but within a reasonable period of time. “Prompt” and “reasonable” take into account the volume of records requested; the proximity of the location where the records are stored; and the necessity for any legal review of the records requested..

  4. Each request should be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records. Requests for readily available records should be satisfied immediately if feasible to do so. If fewer than 20 pages of copies are requested or if the records are readily available in an electronic format that can be e-mailed or downloaded easily, these should be made as quickly as the equipment allows.

    All requests for public records must either be satisfied or be acknowledged in writing by Wright State University within three business days after the responding office's receipt of the request.If a request is deemed beyond "routine," such as seeking a voluminous number of copies or requiring extensive research, the acknowledgement must include the following:

    1. An estimated number of business days it will take to satisfy the request.

    2. An estimated cost if copies are requested.

    3. Any items within the request that may be exempt from disclosure.

  5. Any denial of public records requested must include an explanation, including legal authority. If portions of a record are public and portions are exempt, the exempt portions are to be redacted and the rest released. If there are redactions, the redactions must be accompanied by a supporting explanation.

12210.4 Costs for Public Records

Those seeking public records will be charged only the actual cost of making copies. Actual costs will be in accordance with the current rate for copies at commercial establishments:

  1. The charge for paper copies will be per page.

  2. The charge for downloaded computer files to a compact disc is per disc.

  3. Any charge for documents e-mailed to be determined.

  4. Requesters may ask that documents be mailed to them. They will be charged the actual cost of the postage and mailing supplies.

12210.5 E-mail

Documents in electronic mail format are records as defined by the Ohio Revised Code when their content relates to the business of the office. E-mail is to be treated in the same fashion as records in other formats and should follow the same retention schedules.

  1. Records in private e-mail accounts used to conduct public business are subject to disclosure. Employees or representatives are instructed to retain their e-mails that relate to public business and to copy them to their business e-mail accounts.

  2. E-mails from private accounts are considered records of the public office, and will be made available for inspection and copying in accordance with the Public Records Act.

12210.6 Failure to responds to a public records request

Wright State University recognizes the legal and non-legal consequences of failure to properly respond to a public records request. In addition to the distrust in government that failure to comply may cause, Wright State University’s failure to comply with a request may result in a court ordering Wright State University to comply with the law and to pay the requester’s attorney’s fees and damages.