California Public Records Act

Appendix III.

(California Code Section 6250 et seq.)

The University of California, established under article IX of the California Constitution, is included among agencies governed by the California Public Records Act (PRA) and Information Practices Act (IPA). 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 PRA and IPA.

Access to University Public Records

The California Public Records Act (PRA) 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 by every person except as provided in the PRA.

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

The California Information Practices Act (IPA) expands upon the California constitutional guarantee of privacy by providing limits on the collection, management and dissemination of personal information by state agencies.

Definition of a “public record” includes all written and non-written records, in any format (including electronic databases, email, audio-visual recordings, 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 PRA or IPA.

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;
  • 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.

The following records are exempt under the PRA but may be obtained by individuals requesting records about themselves under the IPA:

  • Personnel records, medical records, or similar files.

What information [within a University record] is public?

Generally available:

  • Non-confidential business records (ex: published reports, aggregate enrollment data, etc.)

Not releasable [must be redacted]:

  • Confidential business records (ex: personal information, performance evaluations, etc.)

Where to go for consultation:

The campus Information Practices Coordinator.

NOTE: there is an extremely short time frame (10 days) in which to initially respond to PRA requests. There is a 30 day time frame to respond to IPA requests.

DO NOT DELAY in forwarding a request for any records to the Information Practices Coordinator.

2005 Apr 12 

rev. 2005 oct 21

rev. 2007 May 4

rev. 2013 Apr 10

rev. 2020 April 29/MChristensen

Last reviewed: April 29, 2020