By Janice Schulz
As a State of Ohio public entity, the University of Cincinnati is required to adhere to Ohio’s public records laws. The laws can be found in Ohio Revised Code 149.43, but interpretation can be tricky. To assist Ohio agencies and citizens with understanding and applying both the public records laws and the open meeting laws, collectively known as “sunshine laws,” the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Auditor of State have jointly published the Ohio Sunshine Laws Manual. In plain language, the manual describes what a public record is, how to request records, exceptions to the law, enforcement of the law, and obligations of public offices. Like many state laws, interpretation of the public records laws happens during actual court cases, and the manual is updated annually to include new and/or different interpretations that affect how we need to comply. The 2011 Sunshine Manual can be viewed and downloaded free of charge and hard copies, also free of charge, can be requested on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.
At the University of Cincinnati all public records requests are handled by the Office of General Counsel. If you are a UC employee, it is important to become familiar with the Public Records Policy, which outlines our procedures for receiving and responding to requests. Please also note that part of the law requires departments to have a records retention schedule available to show requestors. If you are unsure if your department has a records retention schedule, please contact the UC Records Management Program.