Section: Financial Policy Number: 3-30 Policy Name: Rules on Access to Public
Records under the Delaware Freedom of Information Act Date: February, 2010 Revisions: February 2, 2011; March 27, 2012
In accordance with §10003(b) of the Delaware Freedom of Information
Act, 29 Del. C. §10003(b), and under the authority granted to the
University of Delaware to adopt informal rules of procedure under §
10113(b)(1) of the Delaware Administrative Procedure Act, 29 Del. C.
§10113(b)(1), the University of Delaware has adopted the following
rules on access to public records under the Delaware
Freedom of Information Act.
Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this policy, shall have the following meaning unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
"University" means the University of Delaware.
"FOIA" means the Delaware Freedom of Information Act as established pursuant to Title 29, Chapter 100 of the Delaware Code.
“FIOA Coordinator” means the person designated by the University to receive and process FOIA Requests.
“FOIA Request” means a request to inspect or copy Public Records pursuant to §10003 of the FOIA and in accordance with this policy.
“FOIA Request Form” means the form promulgated by the Office of the Attorney General of Delaware upon which a request for a Public Record may be made.
“Non-Custodial Records” shall have the meaning set forth in §III.E (Requests for Other Non-Custodial Records) of this policy.
"Public Record" shall have the meaning set forth in §10002 of the FOIA.
"Requesting Party" shall mean the party filing a FOIA Request.
The purpose of this policy is to set forth the rules and procedures for responding to requests from the public for Public Records under the FOIA.
The FOIA generally exempts the University from statutory coverage except in certain limited respects. The University is covered by the FOIA only to the extent that requests relate to “the expenditure of public funds . . . .” 29 Del. C. §10002(d). Public funds are “those funds derived from the State or any political subdivision of the State.” 29 Del. C. §10002(f).
In accordance with the FOIA, the public has the right to reasonable access to public records. The FOIA provides that it is the responsibility of a public body to establish rules and regulations regarding access to public records as well as fees charged for copying of such records. All requests to the University for public records made pursuant to the FOIA shall be processed in the manner prescribed in this policy.
Exceptions from disclosure under the FOIA and under this policy shall be construed in a manner that shall further the accountability of the University and in furtherance of the policy that the public shall have reasonable access to Public Records.
Records Request, Response Procedures and Access.
Form of Request.
All FOIA Requests shall be made in writing to the University in person, by email, by fax, or online in accordance with the provisions hereunder. FOIA Requests may be submitted using the FOIA Request Form promulgated by the Office of the Attorney General; provided, however, that any FOIA Request that otherwise conforms with the policy hereunder shall not be denied solely because the request is not on the promulgated form. Copies of the FOIA Request Form may be obtained from the University’s website, or from the office or website of any state agency.
All requests shall adequately describe the records sought in sufficient detail to enable the University to locate such records with reasonable effort. The Requesting Party shall be as specific as possible when requesting records. To assist the University in locating the requested records, the University may request that the Requesting Party provide additional information known to the Requesting Party, such the types of records, dates, parties to correspondence, and subject matter of the requested records.
Method of Filing Request. FOIA Requests may be made by mail or in person to the FOIA Coordinator at:
Office of the General Counsel
162 The Green, Room 124
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716
Fax number: (302) 831-3055
The FOIA Coordinator shall be the Vice President and General Counsel, who shall serve as the point of contact for FOIA Requests and coordinate the University’s responses thereto. The FOIA Coordinator shall be identified on the University’s website. The FOIA Coordinator may designate other University employees to perform specific duties and functions hereunder.
The FOIA Coordinator and/or his or her designee, working in cooperation with other University employees and representatives, shall make every reasonable effort to assist the Requesting Party in identifying the records being sought, and to assist the University in locating and providing the requested records. The FOIA Coordinator and/or his or her designee will also work to foster cooperation between the University and the Requesting Party. Without limitation, if a Requesting Party initiates a FOIA Request that would more appropriately be directed to another agency, the FOIA Coordinator shall promptly forward such request to the relevant agency and promptly notify the Requesting Party that the request has been forwarded. The University may close the initial request upon receipt of a written confirmation from the FOIA Coordinator of the relevant agency that the relevant agency has received such request. The University shall provide the Requesting Party with the name and phone number of the FOIA Coordinator of the relevant agency.
In addition to the foregoing responsibilities, the FOIA Coordinator shall maintain a document tracking all FOIA Requests for the then-current calendar year. For each FOIA Request, the document shall include, at a minimum: the Requesting Party’s contact information; the date the University received the FOIA Request; the University’s response deadline pursuant to §III.D of this policy; the date of the University’s response pursuant to §III.D (including the reasons for any extension pursuant to §III.D; the names, contact information and dates of correspondence with individuals contacted in connection with requests pursuant to §§III.C.2, §III.D.5 and§III.E of this policy; the dates of review by the University pursuant to §III.F of this policy and the names of individuals who conducted such reviews; whether documents were made available; the amount of copying and/or administrative fees assessed; and the date of final disposition.
University Response to Requests.
The University shall respond to a FOIA Request as soon as possible, but in any event within fifteen (15) business days after the receipt thereof, either by providing access to the requested records; denying access to the records or parts of them; or by advising that additional time is needed because the request is for voluminous records, requires legal advice, or a record is in storage or archived. If access cannot be provided within fifteen (15) business days, the University shall cite one of the reasons hereunder why more time is needed and provide a good-faith estimate of how much additional time is required to fulfill the request.
Public records shall be produced by making the original versions or true and accurate copies available for inspection at a specified time and place at the University, provided that any fees associated with production are paid as provided in §IV of this policy. Should the Requesting Party wish to receive copies of public records in electronic or hard-copy format, then the University shall produce such copies in lieu of making them available for inspection, provided that any fees associated with production are paid as provided in §IV of this policy. There shall be no right of inspection unless and until all fees required to be paid have been paid.
The University may deny a Requesting Party access to a public record if the requesting party has made repeated requests for the same record and the repeated requests have placed an unreasonable burden on the University. A denial under this subsection shall not restrict a Requesting Party's entitlement to request a different record.
If the University denies a request in whole or in part, the University’s response shall indicate the reasons for the denial. The University shall not be required to provide an index, or any other compilation, as to each record or part of a record denied.
Requests for Email. Requests for email records shall be fulfilled by the University from its own records, if doing so can be accomplished by the University with reasonable effort.
Requests for Other Non-Custodial Records.
If all or any portion of a FOIA Request seeks records controlled by the University but that are either not within its possession or cannot otherwise be fulfilled by the University with reasonable effort from records it possesses (collectively, the “Non-Custodial Records”), then the University shall promptly request that the relevant public body provide the Non-Custodial Records to the University. Prior to disclosure, records may be reviewed in accordance with §III.F of this policy by the University, the public body fulfilling the request, or both. Non-Custodial Records shall include budget data relating to the University to the extent that such budget data are disclosable under the FOIA.
Before requesting any Non-Custodial Records, the University shall provide a written cost estimate to the Requesting Party, listing all charges expected to be incurred in retrieving such records. Upon receipt of the estimate, the Requesting Party may decide whether to proceed with, cancel or modify the request.
Review by University. Prior to disclosure, records may be reviewed by the University to ensure that those records or portions of records deemed non-public may be removed pursuant to §10002(g) of the FOIA or any other applicable provision of law. In reviewing the records, all documents shall be considered Public Records unless subject to one of the exceptions set forth in § 10002(d)of the FOIA, § 10002(g) of the FOIA, or any other applicable provision of law. Nothing herein shall prohibit the University from disclosing or permitting access to Public Records if the University determines to disclose such records, except where such disclosure or access is otherwise prohibited by law or regulation.
Hours of Review. The University shall provide reasonable access for reviewing Public Records during regular business hours.
In instances in which paper records are provided to the Requesting Party, photocopying fees shall be as follows:
Standard Sized, Black and White Copies: The first 20 pages of standard sized, black and white copied material shall be provided free of charge. The charge for copying standard sized, black and white Public Records for copies over and above 20 shall be $0.10 per sheet (i.e., $0.10 for a single-sided sheet, $0.20 for a double-sided sheet). This charge applies to copies on the following standard paper sizes: 8.5” x 11”; 8.5” x 14”; and 11” x 17”.
Oversized Copies/Printouts: The charge for copying oversized Public Records shall be as follows:
18” x 22”: $2.00 per sheet
24” x 36”: $3.00 per sheet
Documents larger than 24” x 36”: $1.00 per square foot.
Color Copies/Printouts: An additional charge of $1.00 per sheet will be assessed for all color copies or printouts for standard sized copies (8.5” x 11”; 8.5” x 14”; and 11” x 17”), and $1.50 per sheet for larger copies.
Fees for the Production of Public Records in Electronic Format.
If Public Records are produced in electronic form rather than hard-copy form, it shall be the University’s standard practice to charge fees for data produced and reasonable personnel costs associated with search, review, copy, and conversion of records into transmittable form.
If the content of Public Records in electronic form is less than one megabyte, then, except as provided in §IV.B.4 of this policy, it shall be the University’s standard practice not to levy any charge.
If the content of Public Records in electronic form is one megabyte or more, it shall be the University’s standard practice to charge fees in accordance with the following schedule:
For between one megabyte of data and less than ten megabytes of data: one hundred dollars.
For between ten megabytes of data and less than one hundred megabytes of data: one hundred fifty dollars.
For between one hundred megabytes of data and less than one gigabyte of data: three hundred dollars.
For each gigabyte or fraction of a gigabyte over one gigabyte of data: five hundred dollars.
If the University transmits public records electronically by copying them onto a CD-ROM, Flash Drive, or other portable device, it shall be the University’s standard practice to charge an additional fee of ten dollars per ten megabytes of data transmitted.
The University retains sole discretion to determine whether public records are produced in hard-copy form, or electronically, or in some combination of hard-copy and electronic forms.
Administrative fees shall be levied for requests requiring more than one hour of staff time to process. Charges for administrative fees may include staff time associated with processing FOIA Requests, including, without limitation, (a) identifying records; (b) monitoring file reviews; and (c) generating computer records (electronic or print-outs). Administrative fees shall not include any cost associated with the University’s legal review of whether any portion of the requested records is exempt from the FOIA. The University shall make every effort to ensure that administrative fees are minimized, and may only assess such charges as shall be reasonably required to process FOIA Requests. In connection therewith, the University shall minimize the use of non-administrative personnel in processing FOIA Requests, to the extent possible.
Prior to fulfilling any request that would require a Requesting Party to incur administrative fees, the University shall provide a written cost estimate of such fees to the Requesting Party, listing all charges expected to be incurred in retrieving such records. Upon receipt of the estimate, the Requesting Party may decide whether to proceed with, cancel or modify the request.
Administrative fees will be billed to the Requesting Party per quarter hour. These charges will be billed at the current hourly pay grade (pro-rated for quarter hour increments) of the lowest-paid employee capable of performing the service. Administrative fees will be in addition to any other charges incurred under this §IV of this policy, including copying fees.
When multiple FOIA Requests are submitted by or on behalf of a Requesting Party in an effort to avoid incurring administrative charges, the Agency may in its discretion aggregate staff time for all such requests when computing fees hereunder.
Microfilm and/or Microfiche Printouts. The first 20 pages of standard sized, black and white material copied from microfilm and/or microfiche shall be provided free of charge. The charge for microfilm and/or microfiche printouts over and above 20 shall be $0.15 per sheet.
Payment. The University may require all fees to be paid prior to any service being performed hereunder.
Appointment Rescheduling or Cancellation. Requesting Parties who do not reschedule or cancel appointments to view files at least one full business day in advance of the appointment may be subject to the charges incurred by the University in preparing the requested records. The University shall prepare an itemized invoice of these charges and provide the same to the Requesting Party for payment.
Reduction or Waiver of Fee.
The University, at its sole discretion, may waive or reduce any fee otherwise chargeable under this policy if the University determines in its sole discretion that the public interest would be served thereby.
Upon a showing by the person requesting public records that the person receives public assistance or is unable to pay because of indigence, it shall be the University’s standard practice to waive the first $100 of any fee to be charged.
Applicability. To the extent any provision in this policy conflicts with any other law or regulation, such law or regulation shall control, and the conflicting provision herein is expressly superseded.
Effective Date. This policy shall become effective immediately.