This policy sets forth the University's policy and procedure in responding to public records requests.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is open and responsive to public records requests from the public and the news media. If a University department or unit has a question about the legality of releasing requested records, that department or unit should consult with the Public Records Officer in the Office of Legal Affairs. This Policy is implemented in accordance with the NC Public Records Act and other applicable federal and state laws.
An employee's personnel records are confidential in accordance with the Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records Act, NCGS §126-23, except that the following information is public about every employee:
Salary information includes pay, benefits, incentives, bonuses, and deferred and all other forms of compensation paid by the employing entity. In addition, the UNC Board of Governors has enacted a policy in which provisions specific to the contracts of head coaches and athletic directors in the UNC system can be found (see UNC Policy Manual §1100.3.A.6).
Students' academic, medical and counseling records
State privilege laws require that, with rare exception, medical and counseling records be kept confidential, and federal disabilities law requires confidentiality for medical information provided in connection with Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. In addition, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) restricts information that can be released about a student without the student’s written consent. University Policy 402, Student Records, defines “directory information,” which is information about a student that may be released without a student’s consent. Before releasing directory information about any student, the custodian receiving the request must check with the Registrar’s office to determine whether the student has placed a privacy block on the information.
Patent applications and other documents that contain trade secrets
Certain criminal investigation and law enforcement records
If the requestor asks for copies, the University may charge the actual costs of making the copies but not the costs of labor. Generally, the University will not charge for the costs of the copies unless the amount equals fifty dollars ($50.00) or more. For extraordinary reproduction or copying requests, the University may charge a special service fee as stated in Section III below. The special service fee for production of extraordinary public records requests, set forth in Section III below, is separate and distinct from the copying charge.
If the request requires extensive use of information technology resources or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance, or if producing the record in the medium requested results in a greater use of information technology resources than that established by the University for reproduction of the volume of information requested, then the University may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a special service charge. The special service charge shall be reasonable and shall be based on the actual cost incurred for such extensive use of information technology resources or the labor costs of the personnel providing the services, or for a greater use of information technology resources that is actually incurred by the University or attributable to the University. The University considers more than four (4) hours to constitute extensive use of personnel. If preparation of the response to the request exceeds four (4) hours, the University will charge the amount required to recover the cost of such extensive use of personnel. Currently, that amount is a presumed rate of $18.00 per hour. The custodian shall estimate the costs of such extraordinary requests prior to making the documents available for inspection and allow the requestor the option of either agreeing to pay the costs or revising the request to narrow its nature or scope. If the estimated cost exceeds $500.00, a 50% deposit will be required prior to any associated labor in fulfilling the public records request. Multiple requests within a short period of time from the same individual will be considered a single request for purposes of determining whether to charge under this section.
The University is not required to respond to a request for a copy of a public record by creating or compiling a record that does not exist. If the University, as a service to the requester, voluntarily elects to create or compile a record, it may negotiate a reasonable charge for the service with the requester. The University is not required to put into electronic medium a record that is not kept in electronic medium.
Responsible Office: Office of Legal Affairs