Public Records

Public Records Information & Resources

 

THE PUBLIC RECORDS ACT

The Washington State Public Records Act, enacted in 1972, guarantees citizens of our state transparency and complete access to government records.  Public Records include any writing, electronic media, email, video recording and/or other recording and must be an existing and identifiable record.  Any record created by an employee or representative of the state as part of their official duties or using state resources is a potential public record.  The full text of the act can be viewed at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=42.56.

HOW TO REQUEST PUBLIC RECORDS

Public records may be requested by contacting the Public Records Officer.

Contact Information:
Anieska Timms, Public Records Officer
2700 Evergreen Pkwy NW
Olympia, WA  98505
Phone: (360) 867-6914
Email: Anieska Timms

Within five business day of receipt of the request, you will either receive the record or will be contacted in writing.  Written responses will be to acknowledge the request and provide a date the records will be available, to deny the request with an explanation of the denial, or to ask for further clarification.

Please keep in mind the College's response time will depend on the number of public record requests being processed by the College, how many records are responsive to the request, how old the records being requested are, and how specific the request is.

For large requests, the College may provide documents to citizens on an installment basis.

PROVIDING REQUESTED MATERIAL TO CITIZENS

There is no charge for inspection and review of records. Citizens are welcome to contact the Public Records Officer to set-up a time during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am - 5 pm,  for such a review. If a copy of the record is requested, the College will charge 15c per page.  Documents will not be released prior to payment.

EXEMPTIONS TO DISCLOSURE

The Public Record Law has few exemptions that are generally narrowly interpreted. All records are considered public unless a specific exemption can be cited.

The College is also bound by the provisions of several other Acts which may prevent the release of certain records.  The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is the most commonly used law for higher education institutions which protects student education records.

For further information on applicable exemptions, please visit http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=174-276-080 or contact the College's Public Records Officer.

INTERNAL RESPONSES TO PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS

Public Records include any form of writing and recording that is prepared, owned, used, or retained by the College.  Any record created using public resources is considered the property of the state.  All employees and officers of the College are bound by law to comply with this Act and to provide any applicable record to the Public Records Officer.   When complying with requests, please keep the following points in mind:

  • The College has a limited amount of time to comply with requests.  Please turn over records at the earliest possible opportunity or contact the Public Record Officer if you are not able to do so.
  • All records are reviewed by the Public Records office prior to disclosure. Please provide documents in a timely manner that allows the Public Records Officer enough time to review these documents.
  • Only the Public Records Officer and the College's legal representative can determine if an exemption exists.  Employees must turn over all records to the College's designated Officer for review.
  • All exemptions and redactions must be logged, along with the applicable statute providing this exemption, and submitted to the requestor.

If a court finds the College  to have improperly withheld documents , the College can be fined $5 to $100 per day, per document, along with attorney fees and other damages.

WHAT IS NOT CONSIDERED A PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST:
OTHER INFORMATION AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

You may obtain further information on the Public Records Act by visiting the Washington State Attorney General's Web site at http://www.atg.wa.gov/OpenGovernment/default.aspx or by contacting the Public Records Officer.