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Open Records

Because it is a state agency, all records of the University of Kentucky are classified as "public records," and thus are subject to inspection pursuant to the terms of the Open Records Act unless a specific exemption in the Act applies, as explained below. The provisions of the Act are contained in KRS 61.870 – 61.884.

University employees have complete access to their own faculty and staff personnel files in departmental/college offices or at the Employee Records Office. No formal request need be made by a University employee through the Open Records process to access his or her file.

Normally, University employees need not make an Open Records request to obtain records directly related to job assignments. Thus, supervisory personnel should be consulted before requiring any University employee to file a formal open records request for University records.

The official Records Custodian for the University is Bill Swinford, Chief of Staff to the President. The Open Records office is the responsibility of Amy Spagnuolo, Paralegal to the Office of Legal Counsel. Ms. Spagnuolo may be reached at (859) 257-6366 or at email address: ukopenrecords@uky.edu. Her office is located in the Main Building, Room 301. Open records requests must be in writing; they may be sent via email to the UK Open Records email address at ukopenrecords@uky.edu. If you receive an Open Records request, it should immediately be sent to Ms. Spagnuolo.

The University has three (working) days to respond to an Open Records request. Since the Open Records office has to review the records, draft a reply letter, consult with an attorney in the Legal Office, and send the reply, it is necessary for departments to get responsive documents to the Open Records office as soon as possible, and not any more than two days after receipt of the request. While it is often helpful for department officials to express their opinions that certain documents may fall within a particular exception, the decision to release or not release per an exception to the law rests with the Open Records and the Legal Offices.

University records are released upon written request unless the Official Custodian determines that an exemption to the Open Records Act should be applied. The following types of records are generally exempt under the law and are not disclosed except upon order of the Attorney General or a court:

• Records which are of a personal nature and the disclosure of which would be a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Examples are medical records, an employee's Social Security number, marital status, payroll benefits deductions, employee evaluations, etc.

• Records confidentially disclosed to an agency and compiled and maintained for scientific research.

• Test questions, scoring keys, and other examination data.

• Preliminary drafts, notes, or correspondence with private individuals other than correspondence which is intended to give notice of final action of the University of Kentucky.

• Preliminary recommendations, and preliminary memoranda in which opinions are expressed or policies formulated or recommended.

• All records or information the disclosure of which is prohibited by state or federal law or regulation. Example: student records or information protected from disclosure by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (the "Buckley Amendment").

Provisions of the Open Records Law give University employees the right to inspect University records that are "related to" them, even though such records may be preliminary in nature or subject to other exemptions. This right of inspection would include the following – work plans, job performance, demotions, evaluations, promotions, compensation, transfers, layoffs, disciplinary actions, examination scores and preliminary or other supporting documentation. Members of committees that consider matters involving individual faculty members or employees should be aware that personal notes taken by them may be obtained by affected faculty members or employees under this provision.

All employees should be aware that letters of evaluation or recommendation concerning individual faculty or employees may be obtained by affected faculty or employees under this provision.

Questions about the application of the Open Records Law to particular types of University records may be directed to Ms. Spagnuolo or Mr. Swinford.

 

Open Records Office

301 Main Building
Lexington, KY 40506-0032
Phone: (859) 257-6366
Fax: (859) 323-1062