Open Records Act Request
As an instrumentality of the state of Georgia, Columbus State University is subject to the requirements of the Georgia Open Records Act (ORA). O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 (2012). Although exceptions apply, ORA mandates open access of public records upon request and, when applicable, for a fee. Requests for records, regardless of whether they refer to the Open Records Act or whether it is in writing, should be sent to or communicated immediately to the Office of General Counsel (OGC).
Open Records Officer
Craig Burgess is the Open Records Officer for Columbus State University. In addition to the Open Records Request Form, open records requests can be sent directly to Mr. Burgess at the following address:
4225 University Avenue | Columbus, GA 31907 | email@example.com | 706.507.8234
Protocol for Handling Open Records Requests
Columbus State University is committed to providing customer-friendly service when responding to requests for public information. Open records requests can be conveniently submitted by clicking on the above Open Records Request Form. Requests submitted via the Request Form are routed directly to the OGC, the official and designated office for responding to open record requests.
What to do if you receive an Open Records Request
With some exceptions (such as requests for incident reports received by the Columbus State Police Department), requests University employees receive for records should be immediately forwarded to the attention of Craig Burgess, the University's Open Records Officer. Do not hesitate to inform anyone inquiring about access to University records that they should contact Mr. Burgess for answers to any questions or concerns they may have.
The University has three (3) days in which to respond to open record requests by either producing the requested records when records are readily available or outlining the time frame in which it will respond to the request when additional time is necessary for search and review of the requested documents. Accordingly, University departments must work closely with the OGC to ensure the University responds timely to the request, particularly when the search, review and potential production of documents might result involve the expenditure of significant university resources.
Costs to Fulfill Requests
While individuals have the right to request and receive public records, the University is not required to provide materials at no cost. The University has the right to assess a reasonable charge and therefore it is imperative to keep accurate records of time estimated/involved in the search and retrieval of documents. The rate that can be charged is the salary of the lowest-paid full-time employee, who, in the discretion of the OGC, has the necessary skill and training to respond to the request. There is no charge for the first 15 minutes of the retrieval time. If copies are requested, the requester shall be charged twenty-five (.25) cents per page. The OGC reserves the right to waive some or all of the costs.
The ORA contains a number of exemptions which bar certain information and records from disclosure. The OGC is responsible for assessing whether certain exemptions under the ORA will apply to a specific request.