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: email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
FAQS Related to Open Records
All open records request should be forwarded immediately to the Office of Legal Counsel. Kentucky law mandates that the University must respond to requests for record within three (3) days of receipt. “Receipt” is from the date you or your office receives the request, not from the date when the Office of Legal Counsel receives it. Therefore, it is imperative that you notify the legal office as soon as you receive a request for records so we can review the matter and respond in a timely manner. The legal office, on behalf of the official University records custodian, is responsible for determining whether the request is proper and whether any legal exemptions are applicable. The legal office is also responsible for gathering the requested documents and then either arranging a time for inspection of the documents or for making copies available to the requestor. The official University records custodian is Bill Swinford, Chief of Staff, Office of the President.
Please send record requests, or questions about open records, to:
301 Main Building
Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0032
Phone: (859) 257-6366
Fax: (859) 323-1062
For more information on University of Kentucky open records, click here. For general information visit the Open Records and Open Meeting site http://ag.ky.gov/civil/orom/ at the Office of Attorney General of Kentucky.
You should contact the Office of Legal Counsel immediately, unless your unit has a specific procedure in place for handling subpoenas. Examples of such units are the University of Kentucky Hospital and the Kentucky Clinic Medical Records Departments. By law, the University must respond to subpoenas, summons, and court orders within a specified time period after you receive the court document. Therefore, it is imperative that you notify the Office of Legal Counsel as soon as you are served, so we can review the matter and respond in a timely manner. We will review the document to determine the University’s rights and responsibilities for compliance.
If someone appears with a subpoena, summons, court order, or other legal document call the Office of Legal Counsel immediately, (859) 257-2936, and ask to speak to an attorney. If you receive the legal document via regular or certified mail:
- Note the date and time of receipt on the envelope and keep the envelope and certified mail receipt.
- Immediately fax to (859) 323-1062, or personally deliver all of the documents that you received to the Office of Legal Counsel as soon as possible, because a limited time frame exists for responding to most legal notices.
- Keep the contents of the documents confidential.
If you receive a subpoena that involves a request for medical records, please contact:
The University of Kentucky, Medical Records Department
The Kentucky Clinic Medical Records Department
If you are a physician or staff in the medical center, and the subpoena requests your appearance for a deposition or testimony at a civil or criminal trial and you believe you need assistance, please contact the Office of Legal Counsel at (859) 323-1161. For all other subpoenas, or if you have questions about a subpoena you receive, please contact Amy Spagnuolo, Office of Legal Counsel, at (859) 257-6366.
You should contact the Office of Legal Counsel, who can advise you on how to respond.
You should contact the University’s Office of Public Relations at (859) 257-3303; or, if you are employed in the medical center, call the Office of Public Relations at (859) 323-6363.