Learn About Open Records
THE KANSAS OPEN RECORDS ACT (KORA)
The Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) is state law stating that public records shall be open for inspection by any person as described in the Act [K.S.A. 45-215 through 45-223]. KORA does apply to The University of Kansas and the records of the University will be disclosed upon request, unless a particular record is exempt from the Act. Exempt records include those of a sensitive or personal nature concerning individuals, records where confidentiality is necessary for the effective and efficient administration of a governmental program, and records affecting confidential information. The University of Kansas Endowment Association is a separate entity from the University and their records are not subject to KORA.
To Request A Copy of a Record, or to View a Record
- Records requests must be made in writing to the records custodian. Written requests can be submitted by email, by webform, by USPS, or by delivery.
- Anyone may request a record for any reason.
- The request must identify the record being sought and must also include the name and contact information of the person making the request. There is not a special form that must be used.
- A records request sent to someone on the KU campus other than the General Counsel should be forwarded to the Office of the General Counsel for processing.
- KORA requests must be for existing records, not information.
- KORA does not require that a record be created in order to respond to a request.
- KORA does not require records that are already publicly available to be provided.
When a Records Request is Received
- A written records request is considered to be received when it arrives at the Office of the General Counsel. A request sent to another office is not “received” until it is forwarded to the Office of the General Counsel.
- A response to the records request will be sent within three business days of the date of the request. This response will acknowledge receipt of the request, whether the records exist and are subject to KORA, and then an estimate will be given of how much time will be necessary to comply with the request. The three day time period for this initial response begins the first business day after the date the request is received.
- If a record has been requested that is closed to public disclosure, the response will state that the record is closed and will also give the legal authority under which the record is closed.
- If a request is made to obtain names and contact information of students or personnel (directory information), the response will include a certification form that must be signed under oath (a notarized statement) affirming that the information will not be used for solicitation or any other prohibited purpose. If this certification is not given, the request will be denied. Information obtained through KORA cannot be used for purposes of solicitation.
- Kansas law does permit a fee to be charged to the person making the request for employee time necessary to find and prepare the records to respond to the request, which can include copying or other actual costs. If there will be a fee, the response to the request will describe the fee and the reasons for the fee. Any fee must be paid before records will be provided in response to a request.
- When the requested records have been collected, they will be provided to the requester. Electronic versions of records will be provided whenever possible, unless the request specifies a hard copy.
- KORA does not require that records be provided within a specific time period. However, records will be sent in response to a request as soon as they are available.
No original public records shall be removed from the custody of the University without the written permission of the official custodian.
Each request for access to public records shall be acted upon as soon as possible, but not later than the end of the third business day following the date the request is received.
If access to the public record is not granted immediately, the official custodian or her designee shall give a detailed explanation of the cause for further delay and the place and earliest time and date that the record will be available for inspection.
If a request is denied, the official custodian or her designee shall, upon request, provide a written statement of the grounds for the denial and shall cite the specific provision of law under which access is denied. Said written statement shall be furnished to the individual or firm making the request no later than the end of the third business day following the date that the request for the statement was received, unless further clarification from the requester, prepayment, and/or a prohibition against solicitation certification are required.
The request for inspection or copying of public records shall be in writing (including submission by facsimile), and the requestor shall be required to furnish only his or her name and address, proof of identity, if necessary, and the information needed to ascertain the records desired. When a designated custodian furnishes copies of public records, charges for the service shall be collected in advance.
Copies of radio or recording tapes or discs, videotapes or films, pictures, slides, graphics, illustrations or similar audio or visual items or devices shall not be required to be furnished unless such items or devices were shown or played to a public meeting of the Kansas Board of Regents or other public body.
Copies of public records shall be made while the records are in the possession, custody and control of a designated custodian and shall be made under the supervision of the custodian.
All charges or fees shall be paid by certified check or money order made payable to "Kansas State University" and should be sent to the appropriate designated custodian.
A designated custodian may consult with the Office of University Attorney when in doubt as to whether a specific record falls under the provisions of the Open Records Act.
Reasons For Denying Access To Public Records
Permission to inspect or copy public records may be denied if (1) the request "places an unreasonable burden in producing public records" or (2) the custodian of the records "has reason to believe that repeated requests are intended to disrupt other essential functions of the public agency." As mentioned above, denial of a person's inspection or copying request must be explained in writing if the person requests such an explanation.
The Open Records Act provides that, unless otherwise required by law, certain records need not be disclosed. Note in particular, however, that nothing in the Open Records Act supersedes federal law, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA").
Records exempted by the Act from mandatory disclosure include:
- Records protected from disclosure by state or federal law.
- Records which are privileged under the rules of evidence.
- Medical, psychiatric, psychological, or alcoholism or drug dependency treatment records which pertain to identifiable patients.
- Personnel records, performance ratings or individually identifiable records pertaining to employees or applicants for employment (this exemption does not apply to the names, positions, salaries and length of service of University employees).
- Letters of reference or recommendation pertaining to the character or qualifications of an identifiable individual.
- Testing and examination materials, before the test is to be given or if it is to be given again.
- Records of individual test scores.
- Criminal investigation records, unless disclosure is ordered by the District Court.
- Records of agencies involved in administrative adjudication or civil litigation, compiled in the process of detecting or investigating violations of civil law or administrative rules and regulations, if disclosure would interfere with a prospective administrative adjudication or civil litigation or reveal the identity of a confidential source or undercover agent.
- Records of emergency or security information or procedures of the University, or plans, drawings, specifications or related information for any building or facility, if disclosure would jeopardize security of the public agency, building or facility.
- Contents of appraisals of engineering, feasibility estimates or evaluations relative to the acquisition of property by a public agency, prior to the award of formal contracts.
- Most correspondence between a public agency and a private individual.
- Applications and other information submitted in connection with applications for student financial aid.
- Plans, designs, drawings or specifications which are prepared by a person other than an employee of a public agency or records which are the property of a private person.
- Well samples, logs or surveys required by the Kansas Corporation Commission for the drilling of discovery or production of oil or gas.
- Notes, preliminary drafts, research data not yet fully analyzed, unfunded grant proposals, memos, recommendations, or other records in which opinions are expressed or policies or actions are proposed.
- Records which represent and constitute the work product of an attorney.
- Specifications for competitive bidding, until the specifications are officially approved.
- Sealed bids until a bid is accepted or all bids are rejected.
- Public records containing information of a personal nature where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
- Engineering and architectural estimates made by or for any public agency relative to public improvements.
- Financial information submitted by contractors in qualification statements to any public agency.
- Records involved in the obtaining and processing of intellectual property rights that are, or are expected to be, wholly or partially vested in or owned by Kansas State University or the KSU Research Foundation.
- Reports or records of medical care facilities and health care providers which are privileged under Kansas law.
- Information which would reveal the precise location of an archeological site.
If a record is only partially exempted from disclosure, the designated record custodian shall delete the exempted materials and make available the material that is subject to disclosure. Records that are exempt because they pertain to an identifiable individual are subject to disclosure if deletion of the identifying portions of the records is possible.
Public records more than 70 years old are open for inspection without regard to the above-listed exemptions. Disclosure of such records is prohibited only if federal or state law so provides.