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Sunshine week update: UNC makes good on public records request, 121 days later

Five months after she first asked, a Maryland college student got documents she requested pertaining to the University of North Carolina’s policies on social media for student athletes.

Melissa Katz, who requested the information as part of a national survey she and classmates conducted, received the requests today (March 20).

The university released the information two days after an account of the student’s experiences of requesting public requests was published in conjunction with the Student Press Law Center. We wrote about the student journalists’ report on public records yesterday, and were told by UNC the student request was still being processed.

The public records report did not put UNC in a flattering light, finding that the Chapel Hill campus was among the most uncooperative of the 80-plus public universities surveyed. The delay was so long, it lead an Arizona journalism professor to call the university’s lack of response “terrible” and “outrageous.”

Here’s the update about UNC’s records release from the Student Press Law Center:

Katz’s request was submitted by email Oct. 2 — 121 business days ago. North Carolina law requires agencies to respond to public records requests “as promptly as possible.” Asked about the delay,[UNC spokeswoman Karen] Moon wrote that the university had been working on gathering responsive records. ”The public records office completed that process yesterday and provided those records,” she wrote.

“The University makes every effort to respond as promptly as possible to public records requests,” Moon said. “The volume and complexity of records requests have significantly increased over the past few years – in part because of news media interest in recent controversies involving athletics and academic irregularities.”

Moon added that the university is working to improve its record request response process while maintaining student and employee privacy.

Click here to read the entire report.

Want to see the records that Katz received? You can click here to read the university responds and the records.

 

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