In this Legal Question of the Week, SPLC experts share guidance on how to respond if your student newsroom receives an open records request.
Do I need to be a citizen of a state to request records there?
Q: I am hearing rumors that a recently hired school official was fired from his job at a public college in another state and would like to find out more. Do I need to be a citizen of that state to request records? A: In most cases no. The vast majority of states do not require… Continue reading Do I need to be a citizen of a state to request records there?
Is there an age limit for requesting public records?
Q: Is there an age limit for requesting public records under an open records law? A: Currently, Louisiana is the only state that requires a requester be the “age of majority,” which in Louisiana is currently 18. Likewise, there is no age requirement to request federal records under the federal Freedom of Information Act. Every… Continue reading Is there an age limit for requesting public records?
“Vexatious” FOIA requesters can be denied records for up to one year under new Connecticut law
House Bill 5175 was signed into law by Gov. Dannel Malloy on June 7, 2018. Under the law, a public agency can petition the state's Freedom of Information Commission "for relief from a requester that the public agency alleges is a vexatious requester."
Grant will help Otterbein student journalists challenge limited access to campus police records
A year ago, Jordan Bradley detailed in the SPLC Report how student journalists at Otterbein University have had difficulty gaining access to campus police reports.The troubles started in 2011, when the Ohio school's security team was converted into a commissioned police force, said Hillary Warren, who advises The Tan & Cardinal. Then, campus police began responding to incidents that city police once handled. At first, campus police didn't release any records, even those required under the Jeanne Clery Act, Warren told us.
Relief for records requestors? Schools ordered to pay fines, attorney’s fees in open records lawsuits
Violating state open records laws could actually cost you a lot of money, officials in Washington and Iowa have learned this month.First, the University of Washington was ordered last week to pay more than $720,000 in fines for withholding 12,000 pages of public records from a former professor who wanted to see whether she was wrongfully denied tenure at the University of Washington's Tacoma campus because of her gender or heritage.
Department of Education secretary says agency is happy to assist reporters when schools mistakenly cite FERPA
Earlier today, Education Secretary Arne Duncan took questions from journalists on a conference call organized by the Education Writers Association.
Penn State’s silence on Clery report shows need for public records reform
Last week, the Department of Education issued its preliminary report, part of its investigation into whether Pennsylvania State University violated the Clery Act in its handling of allegations of sexual abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. It will likely be years, though, before the public learns what the department uncovered in its far-reaching review of campus safety practices at the school since 1998 — one of the largest and most high-profile investigations ever.The reason for the secrecy is two-fold. A federal law requires the Department of Education to maintain the confidentiality of any program reviews until the final program report is issued.
Are governments with stronger FOI laws also more corrupt? A new study challenges “good government” assumptions.
Does a well-enforced freedom-of-information law lead to more honest government?Intuition says "of course," but a newly released study by a University of Missouri researcher challenges that assumption.Doctoral student Edson C.
Virginia Tech student newspaper won’t appeal dismissal in lawsuit seeking records about missing student
The case involving police records from a 1998 missing person investigation has been dismissed because the West Virginia State Police claim the records are part of an ongoing investigation.The Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech's student newspaper, wanted to access the police investigation file in 2009 when reporter Caleb Fleming was writing a story about the 10th anniversary of former Virginia Tech student Robert Kovack's disappearance.