Public Records Policy

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Responsible University Officer
Chancellor

Responsible Office
Public Records Office
News Services

Public Records Requests

Reason for Policy

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill), as a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina and an agency of the State of North Carolina, is open and responsive to information requests from the public and the news media. UNC-Chapel Hill is committed to a policy of openness, honesty and cooperation with members of the public and the news media.

Providing records that have been requested requires the expenditure of resources. Therefore, consistent with the Policy on Public Records Requests implemented by the University of North Carolina General Administration and with existing law and policy, in an effort to fairly recover the non-appropriated costs of responding to public records requests, UNC-Chapel Hill establishes the following policy for all public records requests received after June 27, 2013. This policy will be implemented in accordance with the NC Public Records Act, N.C.G.S. Chapter 132.

Definitions

A “public record” means all records created or received in the course of university business, in whatever format, including but not limited to paper, photographs, recordings, emails or digital images, unless an exception applies under federal or state law.

Submission of Request for Public Records

This policy applies to all requests for public records made to UNC-Chapel Hill, regardless of requester.  All requests should be provided in writing in order to provide clarity as to the scope of the request and to create appropriate documentation for monitoring time and cost and billing as needed.

In  order  to  expedite  the  submission  of  requests  to  the  appropriate  person,  specific contact information based on main areas of interest is provided below.

Requests seeking student “directory information,” as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, should be submitted to the Office of the University Registrar through the following contact information:

Email: academicdata@listserv.unc.edu
Facsimile: 919-962-0504
Address: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Office of the University Registrar
Attention:  University Registrar Reporting
Campus Box 2100
SASB North, Suite 3100
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-2100

 

Requests  seeking  employee  information  open  to  public  inspection,  as  listed  in  Section 126-23  of  the  State  Personnel  Act,  should  be  submitted  to  the  Office  of  Human Resources through the following contact information:

Email: hr@unc.edu
Facsimile: 919-962-6010
Address: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Office of Human Resources
Attention:  HR Records and Information
Campus Box 1045
104 Airport Drive
Chapel Hill, NC  27599

Please note:  in accordance with the University’s obligations under 25 NCAC 01C.0303, an individual who requests public personnel information must provide his or her name and address, which will be reflected on a record the University will create to account for the disclosure.

 

Requests seeking readily available public University police records should be submitted to the Department of Public Safety through the following contact information:

Email: publicrecords@psafety.unc.edu
Facsimile: 919-962-2572
Address: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Public Safety Department
Attention:  Information Specialist
Public Safety Building, Campus Box 1600
285 Manning Drive
Chapel Hill, NC  27599

 

Requests from the media should be directed to the University’s News Services Director through the following contact information:

Email: news@unc.edu
Facsimile: 919-962-2279
Address: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
News Services
Attn:  Director of News Services
Public Safety Building, Campus Box 1600
210 Pittsboro Street
Chapel Hill, NC  27599

 

All  other  requests  should  be  submitted  to  the  attention  of  the  University’s  Public Records Officer through the following contact information:

Email: publicrecords@unc.edu
Facsimile: 919-843-1617
Address: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
News Services
Attention:  Public Records Officer
110 Bynum Hall, Campus Box 9105
222 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-9105

 

Public records requests from North Carolina citizens and members of the North Carolina media will be accorded the highest priority. As a general rule, the University will process public records requests on a first-in, first-out basis. Exceptions to this practice may be made on occasion when deemed essential by the University.

North Carolina law does not require the University to respond to a request for a public record by creating or compiling a record that does not exist.

Copying Fee

Hard Copies:  If the requester asks for hard copies of documents, the University may charge the actual cost of copying.  Generally, the University will not charge for the copying cost unless the number of pages exceeds fifty (50). Thereafter, the charge will be ten (10) cents per page for every page over 50 copied in black and white and capable of being reproduced in-house.  If for any reason a request requires special handling (e.g., color copies, out-sourcing of copying function, etc.), the actual cost of such handling shall be calculated on a case-by-case basis.

Disk:  If the requester asks for documents in some other medium (e.g., disk), the University may charge the actual cost of the media provided.

Email:  If the requester requests transmission of the documents via email or other electronic means, the University may charge only for special service costs, as described below.

Special Services Charges for Extraordinary Public Records Requests

If the request is such as to require extensive use of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance, or if producing the records in the medium requested results in an excessive use of information technology resources, then the university may charge, in addition to any applicable copying fee, a special service charge. The special service charge will be reasonable and no greater than the actual costs incurred. The University considers more than four (4) hours to constitute extensive use of personnel resources.

If preparation of the response to the request exceeds four (4) hours, the University will charge a presumed rate of $18.00 per hour for the additional time. The Public Records Office will provide an estimate of the costs for an extraordinary request prior to making the records available for inspection or release, in order to allow the requester the option of either agreeing to pay the charge or revising the request to narrow its nature or scope. Multiple requests regarding a particular issue within a short period of time from the same individual or organization will be considered a single request for purposes of determining whether to charge under this section.

The actual cost of redacting legally privileged and/or confidential information may not be included in calculating this special service charge. However, the time spent reviewing for and redacting privileged and/or confidential information should be estimated and recorded as described in the section below.

Accounting for Time Spent Handling Public Records Requests

To the extent practicable, all employees involved in fulfilling a public records request shall maintain a reasonable approximation of the time spent on that task to the nearest half hour.

The approximation of time spent shall be maintained regardless of whether or not the employee’s time is used to calculate a copying fee or service fee as described above.

Related Regulations, Statutes, and Related Policies

North Carolina Public Records Act, N.C.G.S. Chapter 132

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99

North Carolina State Personnel Act, N.C.G.S. Chapter 126

Guidelines for students seeking access to their own education records can be found at: http://registrar.unc.edu/academic-services/transcripts-certifications/ and http://policies.unc.edu/files/2013/05/FERPA.pdf .

Guidelines for employees seeking access to their own personnel files can be found at: http://hr.unc.edu/policies-procedures-systems/spa-employee-policies/personnel-
information/personnel-records-and-confidentiality-of-personnel-information/.

Contacts

Subject Contact Telephone Email
Requests for “directory information” about University students University Registrar Reporting 919-962-5162 academicdata@listserv.unc.edu
Requests for employee information open to public inspection HR Records and Information 919-843-2300 hr@unc.edu
Requests for readily available public University police records Information Specialist 919-962-3951 publicrecords@psafety.unc.edu
Requests from the media Director of News Services 919-962-2091 news@unc.edu
Requests from the general public Public Records Officer 919-962-1219 publicrecords@unc.edu

Document History

Effective June 27, 2013