(Approved by the Vice President for University Relations by authority of Executive Order No. 11)
These guidelines outline the actions to be taken by University departments and the Office of Public Records and Open Public Meetings in responding to requests for records.
The University is required to comply with several laws governing the release of records:
The state of Washington's Public Disclosure Act (Chapter 42.17 RCW) requires that public records be made available for inspection and copying unless they are exempt from disclosure. (Other records disclosure laws which apply to certain records are given in Sections 2.b and 2.c which follow.)
These guidelines provide the procedures for departments to follow. In addition, the University's rules governing access to public records are located in Chapter 478-276 WAC.
Departments should respond to routine requests according to the past practices described below. When requests are received which do not fit past practices, such requests must not be denied, but should be referred to the Director in the Office of Public Records and Open Public Meetings.
The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (P.L. 93-380) applies only to personally identifiable student education records.
This law requires the University to allow students access to their own educational records and to release only student directory information to third parties unless the consent of the student to the release of records is given (also, see Chapter 478-140 WAC, "Rules and Regulations Governing Disclosure of Student Records").
Inquiries concerning student education records should be referred to the Office of the Registrar.
Questions regarding the following laws may be directed to the Director of Public Records and Open Public Meetings:
Routine requests for University personnel and business records should be handled by the departments according to past practices. In these guidelines, the words employee and personnel will be used to include both faculty and staff unless specifically stated otherwise.
When departments request records from other departments for the normal conduct of University business, they are not governed by the Public Disclosure Law but by internal policy. It is the University's practice to release personnel records only to administrators when required for the discharge of their University responsibilities, with the exception of staff employees' performance evaluations (see Section 5.b for further detail).
When a subpoena, summons, search warrant, or other court order is presented, the custodian of the records must call the Attorney General's Division for legal counsel. A subpoena is an action separate from a request under the disclosure laws.
By Government AgenciesThe Payroll
Office and the University's Internal Audit Office
are responsible for releasing their records to
federal and state agencies as required by law.
Payroll Office and the Academic Human Resources
Office are responsible for verifying employment.
Requests must be made in writing. The basic information
that can be released includes the following:
|e.||Requests for Employee Records by Government
Agents or Police Officers
The requester's name and identification should be obtained before releasing any information.
statement signed by the employee authorizing the
release of information should be obtained prior
to the release. Release only the information requested
on the form provided by the agent. In the absence
of an authorization, verify employment as described
|2)||Law Violation InvestigationA
police officer should produce a subpoena or
some other form of a court order. In this
case, follow the directions as given in Section 3.c,
"Subpoena of Record." In the absence of a
subpoena, release only the following:
|f.||Medical Centers' Patient Records
Requests should be made to the appropriate medical centers' Patient Data Services offices which will be answered according to each medical center's policy.
The Director of Public Records and Open Public Meetings responds to requests for records which are not in accordance with past practices and advises departments regarding the laws which apply to public records.
|#1||Upon receiving a request, the
Director of Public Records and Open Public Meetings
obtains the records from the office of origin, determines
the records' status under the Public Disclosure Act,
and makes the appropriate records available to the
requester at the Office of Public Records and Open
|#2||If requested, the necessary arrangements
are made for copying records.
|#3||If, under the Public Disclosure
Act, records are exempt from disclosure, the Director
of Public Records and Open Public Meetings notifies
the requester in writing. If that decision is appealed,
the Director of Public Records and Open Public Meetings
forwards the appeal to the President's Office.
|#4||Records are returned to the office of origin
when the process has been completed.
The following are examples of records requests processed by the Director of Public Records and Open Public Meetings:
Employees may make such requests either to the Director of Public Records and Open Public Meetings or the custodian of the records. If records from several offices are desired, the employee may find it more convenient to apply to the Director of Public Records and Open Public Meetings to coordinate their release. In addition, the following procedures apply to specific requests:
written request by an employee to the appropriate
human resources office, arrangements are made
to allow the employee or employee representative
to review the individual's personnel file at the
human resources office.
|2)||Faculty MembersFaculty members who have filed petitions with the Faculty Adjudication Committee should check with the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs in the Provost's Office before applying to the Director of Public Records and Open Public Meetings.|
A copy of the final performance evaluation will be made available to the employee after the evaluation interview. Performance evaluations can be released only to the employee, the supervisor, and the supervisor's superior. It is the employing department's responsibility to maintain these as well as all other personnel records in a locked or secured file. The performance evaluations must be destroyed at the end of three years.
Requests for Attorney General's records should be made to:
Temple of Justice
P.O. Box 40100
Olympia, WA 98504-0100.
The Washington Personnel Resources Board (WPRB) rules (Titles 251 and 359 WAC) and job specifications are available at the Visitors Information Center. Requests for any other WPRB records should be made to:
Washington Personnel Resources Board
521 Capitol Way S., P.O. Box 47500
Olympia, WA 98504-7500
|328 Schmitz Hall
|4014 University Way N.E.
May 1, 2002.