Records Request Regulation 118

Regulation 118 Approved: February 17, 2011
Records Request Regulation
Regulation 118
Source of Authority: N.C.G.S. Chapter 132;
N.C.G.S. Chapter 126, Article 7;
N.C.G.S. § 125-19;
N.C.G.S. § 116-34(a);
UNC Code § 502(A)
Revision Authority: Chancellor
History: First Issued: February 17, 2011
Related Policies and Regulations: Public Records, N.C.G.S. Chapter 132;
State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. Chapter 126, Article 7;
Confidentiality of Library Records, N.C.G.S. § 125-19;
UNCSA Emergency Communications Plan;
Emergency Management Regulation 701;
FERPA Regulation 803;
Records Retention Regulation 119
Responsible Offices: Division of Strategic Communications
General Counsel
Human Resources
Effective Date: February 17, 2011

I. Purpose

This regulation is designed to ensure UNCSA’s compliance with North Carolina’s Public Records Act and the disclosure of UNCSA information generally.

II. Scope

This regulation applies to all documents maintained by UNCSA.

III. Definitions

A. “Applicant for Employment” means an individual who takes those steps necessary to be considered an employment applicant for purposes of the UNCSA Affirmative Action Plan.

B. “Personnel File” means any employment-related or personal information, wherever located and in whatever form, which relates to an individual’s application, selection or non-selection, promotion, demotion, transfer, leave, salary, contract for employment, benefits, suspension, performance evaluation, disciplinary actions, or termination of employment if that information is gathered by UNCSA, the Retirement Systems Division of the Department of State Treasurer, or by the Office of State Personnel. Personal information contained in a personnel file includes an individual’s home address, social security number, medical history, personal financial data, marital status, dependents, and beneficiaries. Personal information contained in a personnel file includes an individual’s home address, social security number, medical history, personal financial data, marital status, dependents, and beneficiaries.

IV. Regulation

A. Individuals having UNCSA personnel files include present UNCSA employees, former employees, and applicants for employment.

B. All records created or received in the course of UNCSA business, in whatever format constitute public records unless an exception applies under federal or State law.

C. Certain information contained in an otherwise public record is confidential under federal or State law and not subject to release. The most common types of confidential information not subject to a public records request include but are not limited to the following types of information:

1. Personnel Records. Generally information in an individual’s personnel file is confidential, except for the following information

a. Name;

b. Age (but date of birth is confidential);

c. Date of original State employment or appointment to State service;

d. The terms of any contract by which the employee is employed whether written or oral, past and current, to the extent that the agency has the written contract or a record of the oral contract in its possession;

e. Current position;

f. Title;

g. Current salary;

h. Date and amount of each increase or decrease in salary with that department, agency, institution, commission, or bureau;

i. Date and type of each promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation, or other change in position classification within that department, agency, institution, commission, or bureau;

j. Date and general description of the reasons for each promotion with that department, agency, institution, commission, or bureau;

k. Date and type of each dismissal, suspension, or demotion for disciplinary reasons taken by the department, agency, institution, commission, or bureau. If the disciplinary action was a dismissal, a copy of the written notice of the final decision of the head of the department setting forth the specific acts or omissions that are the basis of the dismissal; AND

1. The office or department to which the employee is currently assigned.

2. Students Records. Disclosure of information contained in a student records is governed by UNCSA’s FERPA regulation.

3. Library User Records. Generally information regarding an individual’s use of library services is confidential, except:

a. when necessary for the reasonable operation of the library

b. upon written consent of the user; OR

c. pursuant to a court order, valid subpoena, or otherwise required by law.

4. Patent applications and other documents containing trade secrets as defined by State law.

5. Certain contract or bid records prior to final contract.

6. Attorney-client communications and trial preparation materials

7. Certain criminal investigation and law enforcement records

D. Public Records Requests & Release of Information to the News Media

1. The Division of Strategic Communications is the principal liaison with the news media and will handle all public records requests by the news media in conjunction with the General Counsel’s office.

2. Only those offices enumerated in the procedure associated with this regulation are authorized to issue news releases or to hold news conferences on behalf of the university.

3. Requests for public information contained in individual student records must also comport with UNCSA’s FERPA regulation.

E. Public Records Requests from Individuals

1. Requests by individuals for public information contained in student records must be made according to UNCSA’s FERPA regulation.

2. Individuals who seek public records not including student information must submit a written request to the Director of Media Relations, who will determine the office or offices that hold the requested records, obtain those records, and prepare a response to the request from the individual.

F. Confidential Personnel Records Requests

1. An employee may examine their entire personnel file with the exception of letters of reference solicited prior to initial UNCSA employment and information concerning medical disabilities (mental or physical) that a physician might not have disclosed to the employee.

2. The following persons/entities have access to confidential personnel records:

i. Medical information may be disclosed to a licensed physician designated in writing by the employee.

ii. The employee’s properly authorized agent may have access to the employee’s personnel records. An employee’s authorized agent is one who possesses that employee’s written and signed authority for access to, or disclosure of, a confidential personnel record.

iii. The current supervisor of the employee or any individual within the organizational unit who is in the chain of authority above the employee.

iv. Members of the General Assembly;

v. A party by authority of a proper court order or legally valid subpoena;

vi. An official of a Federal, State, or other political subdivision agency when such inspection is deemed necessary to complete assigned duties, except for purposes of assisting in a criminal prosecution or a tax investigation;

vii. An authorized official within the University or another State agency considering employing a current or former employee, or applicant; AND

viii. A party to a quasi-judicial hearing of a State agency or a State agency which is conducting a quasi-judicial hearing. The file must be required evidence in the hearing. Such a file can be disclosed either by employee’s consent or upon properly issued subpoena.

G. Copying Fee

1. Information in the public record may be copied; however, documents may not be removed or borrowed.

2. If the requestor asks for copies of documents, the university may charge the actual costs of the copies.

H. Special Service Charge for Extraordinary Public Records Request

1. The university may charge, in addition to the copying fee, a special service charge if:

a. the request is such as to require extensive use of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance; OR

b. producing the records in the medium requested results in an excessive use of information technology resources..

2. The special service charge will be reasonable and no greater than the actual costs incurred.

V. Revision History

A. February 17, 2011 – Adopted by Board of Trustees as part of UNCSA Policy Manual


Records Request Procedures

Procedure #118

I. Public Records Requests & Releases of Information to News Media

A. Any request received directly from the news media by any unit on campus other than the Division of Strategic Communications should be forwarded immediately to the Division of Strategic Communications for preparation of a response.

B. The Division of Strategic Communications will determine if the request for records is from a representative of the news media or from an individual.

C. Divisions Authorized to Issue Press Releases

1. Division of Strategic Communications

D. All news releases and news conferences should be coordinated through one of the offices authorized to issue press releases.

II. Public Records Requests & Releases of Information to Individuals

A. An administrator, faculty member or staff member who receives a request for public records directly from an individual should forward a copy of this regulation to the requestor, noting in particular the requirement that the request must be in writing and submitted to the Director of Strategic Communications.

III. Examining Personnel Files & Records

A. Employees wishing to review their personnel records must make an appointment with Human Resources during its regular business hours.

B. A picture ID must be presented before a personnel record can be reviewed.

IV. Fees & Costs

A. Generally, the university will not charge for the costs of copies unless the number of pages exceeds fifty (50) pages.

B. Thereafter, the charge will be five (5) cents per page.

C. The university considers more than four (4) hours to constitute extensive use of personnel.

D. 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.

E. The Director of Strategic Communications will provide an estimate of the costs for an extraordinary request prior to making the records available for inspection or release and allow the requestor the option of either agreeing to pay the charge or revising the request to narrow its nature or scope.

F. Multiple requests within a short period of time from the same individual will be considered a single request for purposes of determining whether to charge under this section.

V. Questions. Any questions regarding the confidentiality of records or portions of records must be directed to the General Counsel prior to release.