Public Records & Information Practices Request FAQs

  1. How do I make a public records request?

  2. What is the definition of a public record?

  3. What should I do if my office receives a public records request?

  4. If no hard copy or electronic records exist responsive to a request do I have to create documents?

  5. Is it legal to discard documents or other evidence when a request is made for the information, or when you think a request is about to be made?

  6. How do you make a request for records directly related to me?

  7. The university has a lot of information about me in my personnel file. What is available to me?

  8. What personal information is available to others under the Public Records Act?

  9. What records are exempt from disclosure?


1. How do I make a public records request?

You may request records by completing the form and submitting the form by mail, in person, or via email to:

Campus Information Practices Coordinator
Chancellor's Office
UC Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064-1077
Email:pra@ucsc.edu

The campus will respond to your request in a diligent manner. However, the nature of some requests requires significant time and resources; therefore, a complete response may take some time. To expedite your request please take note of the following:


1.Please be as specific as possible. Because of the expansive information environment at the University, we cannot accept broad requests for "all records" or similar language. Making your request specific will also enable us to locate the information as quickly as possible.

2.Be sure that your writing is legible.

3.If you sign your name, please ensure that it is legible. Please print your name for clarity.

4.Be sure you include a return address or other contact information.

5.Need more help? Contact us.


2. What is the definition of a public record?

Public Record: "includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public's business, prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics." Government Code Section 6252(d).

Writing: "handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostatting, photographing, and every other means of recording upon any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds or symbols, or combination thereof, and all papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films and prints, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums, and other documents." Government Code Section 6252(e).


3. What should I do if my office receives a public records request?

As records requests must be acknowledged within prescribed legal timelines, immediately contact Information Practices within Office of the Campus Provost and Campus Council (Chancellor's Office) at pra@ucsc.edu or (831) 459-4003. Do not respond to a records request without first contacting Information Practices. Moreover, never disclose personal information unless you are sure of the identity of the requestor and that person's right of access or "business need to know", i.e., access to the electronic data elements or information is relevant in the ordinary course of the performance of the employee's or affiliate's officially assigned duties.


4.If no hard copy or electronic records exist responsive to a request do I have to create documents?


No, the California Public Records Act does not require us to create data or generate new documents to respond to a request. However, if the required information is contained within a database please contact Information Practices (831) 459-4003 for guidance.


5. Is it legal to discard documents or other evidence when a request is made for the information, or when you think a request is about to be made?


No, it is not legal. While you do have the right to dispose of documents in the ordinary course of business, if it's consistent with your policies, you do not have the right to dispose of documents after a request is made (even if it would otherwise be consistent with your disposition policies) as it would be in violation of the California Public Records Act.


6. How do I make a request for records directly related to me?


You may request records by completing the form and submitting the form by mail, in person, or via email to:

Campus Information Practices Coordinator
Chancellor's Office
UC Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064-1077
Email: pra@ucsc.edu

The campus will respond to your request in a diligent manner in accordance with the IPA. To expedite your request please take note of the following:

  1. Please be as specific as possible. Because of the expansive information environment at the University, we cannot accept broad requests for "all records" or similar language. Making your request specific will also enable us to locate the information as quickly as possible.

  2. Be sure that your writing is legible.

  3. If you sign your name, please ensure that it is legible. Please print your name for clarity.

  4. Be sure you include a return address or other contact information.

  5. Need more help? Contact us.


7. The university has a lot of information about me in my personnel file. What is available to me?


Under the Information Practices Act (IPA), you have an almost unlimited right of access to information held by the University that directly relates to you. The IPA defines a "record" as: "...any file or grouping of information about an individual that is maintained by an agency by reference to an identifying particular such as the individual's name, photograph, finger or voice print, or a number or symbol assigned to the individual..." Essentially the only kinds of information in your file that the University can withhold from you are: attorney-client privileged information, information related to an ongoing investigation or grievance, the confidential source of evaluations about you, information related to a criminal record or investigation, or psychological information that would be detrimental for you to know. (Civil Code Section 1798.40).


8. What personal information is available to others under the Public Records Act?


Other people only have the right to obtain a small amount of information about you under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). Most of your personal information is considered confidential and is not available to other people under the CPRA. There are a few exceptions where the University concludes that it is not an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy to release some types of information. There is a list of such information in UC Business and Finance Bulletin RMP-8 ; further, the following information is available to the public upon request:

  • Name
  • Date of hire or separation
  • Current position title
  • Current rate of pay
  • Organization unit assignment, including office address and telephone number
  • Current job description
  • Full time or part time, and career, casual or probationary status
  • Prior non-university employment

9. What records are exempt from disclosure?

  • Preliminary drafts, notes, or inter-agency or inter-University memoranda which are not retained by the University in the ordinary course of business.
  • Records pertaining to pending litigation to which the University is a party until the pending litigation has been finally adjudicated or settled.
  • Personnel, medical, or similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. This includes, but is not limited to, Social Security numbers, home address, home telephone numbers, personal financial information other than University wage information, income tax withholding, birth date, citizenship, staff performance evaluations or letters of corrective actions and the names of an employee's spouse or other relatives.
  • Geological and geophysical data, plant production data, and similar information relating to utility systems development, or market or crop reports, which are obtained in confidence from any person.
  • Records of complaints to, or investigations conducted by the University police departments or other agencies for correctional or law enforcement purposes.
  • Test questions, scoring keys, and other examination data used to administer an examination for employment or an academic examination.
  • Contents of real estate appraisals or engineering or feasibility estimates and evaluations relative to the acquisition of property, or to prospective public supply and construction contracts until all of the property has been acquired or all of the contract agreement obtained.
  • Library circulation records kept for the purpose of identifying the borrower of items available in libraries, and library and museum materials made or acquired and presented solely for reference or exhibition purposes.
  • Records, the disclosure of which is exempted or prohibited pursuant to provisions of federal or state law.
  • Certain University records related to activities governed by the Higher Education Employee-Employer Relations Act (HEERA).
  • Certain records of providers of health care services related to activities governed by sections of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
  • Records of Native American graves, cemeteries, and sacred places maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission.
  • A final accreditation report of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals which has been transmitted to the State Department of Health Services.

In addition to the types of records listed above, the University may withhold any record for which it can be demonstrated that the public interest served by not making the record public clearly, not minimally, outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.

Please contact Information Practices at (831) 459-4003 or email pra@ucsc.edu, with any questions you may have.