Responding to a Public Records Request
It’s the Law
UCLA is required by state law to disclose public information that is not otherwise exempt. The University is obligated to respond in a timely manner to requests by the media and the general public for University records, electronic or hard-copy.
Under the California Public Records Act:
- Access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in the state.
- Public records must be open to inspection at all times during the office hours of a state or local agency.
- Every person has a right to inspect and obtain copies of any public record upon payment of fees covering direct costs of duplication, or a statutory fee, if applicable, except as provided in the Act.
Public records requests are generally coordinated by the Office of Information Practices (OIP), whose goal is to protect individuals’ privacy while complying with all applicable laws. To ensure that all requests are handled appropriately, OIP works closely with Campus Counsel, the Office of Media Relations (OMR), and other relevant campus and UCOP offices.
UCLA is legally required to acknowledge public records requests in writing within 10 calendar days of receipt. If documents cannot be provided within that time frame, an estimate as to when they will be produced must be provided. The University must then make the public records promptly available to the requestor.
By law some records may be exempt from disclosure, such as attorney/client discussions; medical, personnel and other similar files; and police incident reports, rap sheets and arrest records. Be sure to check with the Office of Information Practices (OIP) before making any determinations of exemption.
What to Do
If you receive a request for information via telephone, email, or letter, forward all requests to the OIP as soon as you receive them.
Gather all records requested of you or your unit by the OIP in a timely manner and provide copies of all requested records to the OIP, even if you believe the records may be exempt or may require redaction. The OIP will review and redact all records as appropriate before releasing them to the requestor.