The Michigan Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), MCL §15.231 was enacted in 1976 to enable members of the public to fully participate in the democratic process. The statute provides that upon a written request sufficient for a public body (the University is a public body) to identify the specific public record involved, a person has the right to inspect, copy, or receive copies of certain public records, provided that the requested record is not exempt from disclosure under the terms of the Act or any other applicable law.
What should you do if you or your Department receives a written FOIA request?
Because FOIA allows only five (5) business days to respond to a request, it is imperative that you take the following action immediately:
Note the date that the request was first received by the University.
Immediately deliver the written FOIA request to the Governmental Relations and General Counsel’s office.
What will the Governmental Relations and General Counsel’s office do upon receipt of a written request?
Upon receipt of a written FOIA request, Governmental Relations and General Counsel will assess whether or not the information requested is deemed a "public record"; whether or not the University is in possession of the "public record"; and whether or not the requested information is protected from disclosure under any of the exemptions enumerated under FOIA, or other applicable law.
After its review, Governmental Relations and General Counsel will respond to the requestor by either granting the request, granting the request in part and denying the request in part, or denying the request. Governmental Relations and General Counsel will also notify the requestor of the requestor’s rights to seek a review or appeal of the response in the event that the request was denied in whole or in part.
Disclaimer: Materials presented here are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice from the General Counsel's office. Users are advised to contact an attorney directly whenever considering a matter with legal implications.