California Public Records Act

Appendix III.

(California Code Section 6250 et seq.)

NOTE: The following was text provided by UC University Counsel Maria Shanle on October 19, 2005 at the UCLA Information Practices Fair:

"What is the Public Records Act?" [section] in UCLA Records and Resource Management. Records and Information Management Presents the Information Practices Fair [booklet]. 2003 October 16. pg. 21-22.

The University of California, established under article IX of the California Constitution, is included among agencies governed by the California Public Records Act. This fact is acknowledged in UC records policies.

The University of California is a public institution whose officers and employees, including members of the faculty, generate records in the regular or occasional performance of their administrative duties. In general, these records fall within the jurisdiction of the California Public Records Act.

Access to University Public Records

The California Public Records Act declares that access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in the State, that public records are open to inspection at all times during regular office hours, and are subject to inspection and copying by every person except as provided in the Act.

The Act is modeled on the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which applies to federal agencies.

Definition of a "public record" includes all written records, in any format (including electronic databases, email, etc.) that are prepared, maintained, used or owned by the University of California. The default is that any "public record" must be disclosed to the public upon request, unless it falls within one of the exemptions of the Act.

Which University records are exempt from disclosure under the Act?


- Draft documents (but ONLY if they are not retained in the ordinary course of business);

- Police investigatory records;

- Personnel records, medical records, or similar files which constitute an "unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;"

- Library circulation records;

- Privileged records (e.g. attorney-client, physician-patient, trade secrets, etc.);

- Records created for litigation purposes (does NOT include records created in the ordinary course of business which happen to become relevant to litigation);

- Certain internal documents related to labor relations;

- Records where the public interest in withholding the document "clearly outweighs" the public interest in releasing it.

What information [within a University record] is public?

- Unlimited access releasable upon request: name, campus address, campus telephone number, title, rate of pay, job description, date of hire, etc.

- Not releasable [must be redacted]: home address, home telephone number, birth date, marital status, citizenship, social security number, prior non-University employers, relatives' names and personal data, attendance records, income tax withholding information, performance evaluations.

Where to go for consultation: the campus Information Practices Coordinator.

NOTE: there is an extremely short time frame in which to respond to Public Records Act requests (10 days for an initial response).

DO NOT delay in forwarding a request for documents to the Information Practices Coordinator.

2005 Apr 12, rev. 2005 oct 21

Document owner: Steve Coy

Last reviewed: May 4, 2007

Last updated: April 10, 2013