About Public Records Requests
The purpose of the California Public Records Act (PRA) is to promote “access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.” (California Government Code Section 6250) In providing access, the PRA remains mindful of individual privacy rights.
- Any person may submit a PRA request.
- The request does not need to identify an exact record, but should be sufficiently precise to permit the University to locate the records. The request should be specific and focused and should not be unduly burdensome.
- Written requests are strongly encouraged, but not required. Written requests facilitate University compliance by reducing confusion about the records requested.
- What is a "Public Record"?
-"Public Records" includes “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained” by the University, “regardless of physical form or characteristics.” (California Government Code Section 6252(e))
-"Writing" includes “any handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored.” (California Government Code Section 6252(g))
-This includes not just the records that we create, but any record in our possession.
- The University will provide access to all public records upon request unless the law provides an exemption from mandatory disclosure.
- Over 60 public records requests are received each month, covering a wide range of records. Many of these requests require a line-by-line review of hundreds or even thousands of pages of documents.
About Accessing Your University Records
The California Information Practices Act (IPA) (California Civil Code Section 1798) codifies the right to privacy guaranteed in the California Constitution (Article I, Section 1).
- Every individual has broad access rights to records containing personal information about themselves, with a limited number of exceptions. This includes, but is not limited to, University employees.
- IPA defines “records” which need to be searched and disclosed to mean “any file or grouping of information about an individual that is maintained by an agency by reference to an identifying particular such as the individual's name, photograph, finger or voice print, or a number or symbol assigned to the individual.” (California Civil Code Section 1798.3 (g))
- The individual has the right to amend records if inaccurate, or insert statements in the records if the amendment is denied.
- Personal information about others contained in such records will normally be redacted by the University before those records are released.
- Such Individual records may not normally be disclosed to a third party without the individual's consent, unless non-consented disclosure of the record is allowed under a specific exemption provided by the law.
About the Campus Public Records Coordinator
The campus Public Records Coordinator (PRA Coordinator) is responsible for managing the University's responses to public records requests made under the California Public Records Act (PRA) and the California Information Practices Act (IPA).
- Facilitates all communications and coordination regarding PRA and IPA requests.
- Receives, reviews, logs, and processes all requests made under PRA and IPA.
- Forwards requests to office of record, and collects potentially responsive documents from them.
- Reviews all potentially responsive documents and determines the disclosability and exemptions of these records, and makes redactions as necessary.
- Corresponds with requesters, including the release of responsive documents.
About the Office of Record
An office designated to maintain the record or official copy of a particular record.
- Notifies the PRA Coordinator when a request is received.
- Reviews the request to help determine the existence of potentially responsive records.
- Conducts a reasonable search and collects potentially responsive records.
- Provides courtesy notification to vendor(s) and/or individual(s) as appropriate.
- Submits responsive records to the PRA Coordinator for review.