Public Records Request

 

 
The Human Resource (HR) Department along with appropriate academic and administrative departments maintains certain kinds of information and data on all of their employees.

Mississippi law requires that public entities, which includes Delta State University, provide access to or copies of the public records of DSU in response to a written request. The mandate for open disclosure of the public records has certain exceptions from disclosure, but those exceptions are quite limited. The law requires that a public entity that receives a public records request must comply with a written request within one day of the receipt unless the governing body for that public entity has adopted a written policy extending their time for compliance for up to, but not to exceed, 7 working days.
 
 
Employee: This generally includes faculty and staff employees who are working on paid appointments by the University. It generally excludes students or temporary employees. For specific information on who is considered an employee, contact the Human Resources Department. 
 
 
 
Delta State University follows the policy of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning which directs the method and time within which responses to written public records requests are to be made. [IHL Policy 301.0804]

  
To ensure compliance with the law and the above referenced IHL Board policy, the following procedures are adopted by DSU for the processing of all public records request:
 
  • Recipient(s) should submit an official written request indicating the specific information wanted to the Office of Human Resources at Kent Wyatt Hall 249. Any inquiries from the media concerning public records request will be directed to the Office of the Vice President for University Relations. Should a department within the University receive an official public records request, the document should be forwarded to Human Resources immediately upon receipt. The Director of Human Resources will review the request and will respond within seven working days from the receipt of such request.
  • Upon receipt of a written public records request signed by an individual requester, personally delivered or by mail, the Director of Human Resources will forward a copy of the request to the IHL Board’s office legal staff or the Attorney General’s Office.
  • Upon receipt, the IHL Board’s office legal staff or the Attorney General’s Office will review the request for compliance with the law.
  • If the request constitutes an appropriate request requiring a response, in the opinion of the IHL Board’s office legal staff or the Attorney General’s Office, then the offices listed above will communicate with the Director of Human Resources. The Director of Human Resources will contact the office where the are maintained (i.e., Custodian) to determine whether DSU does have any records identified in the request within its possession and/or control. If parts of the requested record fall under on of the exemptions listed below, the custodian must separate the information and release that part which is a public record.
  • Recipient(s) will be assisted by a staff member at a charge not to exceed actual costs and will be charged $.15 per page for making copies. Records will be available for inspection and copying by appointment during regular working hours (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.), Monday through Friday, holidays excluded.
  • Recipient(s) will deposit a certified check, money order, or cash in escrow with the staff accountant prior to receiving materials. This estimated amount must be sufficient to cover the estimated cost of the staff member’s assistance, copying fees, mailing fees, and/or mechanical reproduction fees.
  • Recipient(s) will be provided adequate space to work at not cost, if available. 
  • Recipient(s) wil be provided requested documents by a staff member. In the case of academic program documents, recipient(s) will be allowed to look at documents from no more than two programs at a time. In the case of all other DSU documents, recipient(s) will be allowed to examine documents in a systematic manner to be determined by a DSU staff member.
  • No more than two recipient(s) per organization will be assisted at a time.
  • Recipient(s) desiring information by mail will be charged for copying costs and staff time at the rates given in number five. An additional charge will be added for mailing costs.
     
 
The legal exemptions from the Public Records Act are as follows:
 
  • personnel records of employees and applications for employment;
  • test questions or answers which are used in examinations for employment;
  • letters of recommendation on applicants for employment;
  • records which are the work product of an attorney;
  • records which would give information about any individual’s tax payments or status;
  • records developed among judges, or among judges and their aides;
  • records of juries concerning their decisions;
  • appraisal information which concerns the sale of purchase of property for public purposes before the announcement of the purchase or sale, if the release of the information would affect the transaction;
  • test questions or answers which are to be used in future academic examinations;
  • letters of recommendations concerning applicants for admission to any educational agency or institution;
  • records which would give information about the location of any specific archaeological site if the agency thinks that releasing them could create a substantial risk of damage or destruction to the site or to any private property around it;
  • investigative records of any law enforcement agency;
  • records maintained by public hospitals, except the minutes of meetings of the hospital board and required financial reports filed with the court, board of supervisors or the city council or board;
  • records held by the Bureau of vital statistics (but must be given to anyone with a "legitimate and tangible interest" in the record);
  • Worker’s Compensation Commission records consisting of medical reports, rehabilitation counselor reports and psychological reports referring to accident, inquiries and settlements;
  • applications for licenses and test questions that are to be used in examinations for licenses;
  • financial and commercial information that an individual or business is required by law to submit to a governmental agency, with the exception of information that a public utility is required to submit related to a change in utility rates; public utilities also have the right to protect trade secrets or confidential information; and,
  • trade secrets or confidential information which is included in records forwarded to a public agency by another party (until the other party is given notice; once notice is provided the records will be released within a reasonable period of time unless the other party receives a court order protecting them from release).
 
 
  • IHL Board Policy 301.0804

 

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