Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

What IS FOIL?

The Freedom of Information Law was created to allow citizens the opportunity to review records and actions of its state and local governments in an effort to ensure that government is responsive and responsible to the public. As a state agency, the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh is subject to the Freedom of Information Law.

Public Records Requests (At a Glance)

As a state agency,  SUNY Plattsburgh is required to provide public records in accordance with the Article 6 of the New York State Public Officers Law (Freedom of Information Law).

Media: Send requests via email to the Records Access Officer or call Sean Dermody at 518-564-2539. Please specify the document(s) you are looking for. It may be helpful to include date parameters, type of information sought, department name or unit and/or name of employee.

Members of the Public: Records requests can be made to any SUNY Plattsburgh employee in writing, by telephone or in person, however, all records requests will be handled by the Records Access Officer .

Employees: Any public records requests you receive, even those from employees, should be forwarded to the Records Access Officer as soon as possible. The Records Access Officer will then coordinate collection of the documents with the appropriate department or individual, provide them to SUNY Counsel 's Office for review and redaction and finally disseminate them to the requestor.

Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Public records requests may be made to any employee in writing, by telephone or in person.
  • The person requesting the information does not have to explain why they are requesting the information. However, contact information, preferably a name, address and email address, is necessary in order to notify the requestor when or if the records are available and if there will be a charge for them.
  • Freedom of Information Requests are time sensitive, so employees should forward them to the Records Access Officer as soon as possible.
  • Employees at no time should make a determination of what is or isn’t a public record in responding to requests.
  • The requestor will be notified in advance if there will be a cost associated with producing the records.
  • All records will be provided in an electronic format, when possible. Printed copies cost 25 cents a page.

How do I file a FOIL Request?

A person, outside agency or group may request information from SUNY Plattsburgh by writing or emailing a request to the Records Access Officer (See Samples: letter, email). The request must reasonably describe the record or records that are being requested. The request shall be as specific as possible, describing as appropriate, dates, titles, files, and designations.

Within five business days of the receipt of the written request, the Freedom of Information Law requires that the Records Access Officer grant or deny access in whole or in part, or if more time is needed, to acknowledge the receipt of the request in writing. The acknowledgement must include an approximate date that indicates when an agency will grant or deny the request. The date must be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, and in most instances, it cannot exceed twenty (20) additional business days. If more than twenty (20) additional business days is needed, the agency must provide an explanation and a date certain within which it will grant or deny the request in whole or in part. That date, too, must be reasonable in consideration of the facts.

Are files and records available for inspection and copying?

Because of the number of offices across campus, you should submit a request to the Records Access Officer. After the records are obtain and are determined to be accessible, the Records Access Officer will make the available to you at an appropriate time. It may also be possible to electronically send them to you or mail them pending a charge for photocopying.

Will I be charged for access to the records requested?

An agency may charge up to twenty-five ($0.25) cents per photocopy not in excess of nine by fourteen inches, or in the case of records that cannot be photocopied, the actual cost of reproduction (for example, photographs, computer discs, tape recordings, etc.), unless otherwise prescribed by statute. With few exceptions, an agency cannot charge for search or clerical time. An agency cannot charge for records transmitted via email. Any person has the right to inspect accessible records at no charge. If portions of the records may be withheld, however, the agency is permitted to require payment for redacted copies of records. If portions of electronic records can reasonably be redacted electronically, prior to disclosure, no payment can be required.

If my FOIL request is denied, what can I do?

Denial of access will be in writing or by email, stating the reason. Any person, group, or agency who feels that a request has been denied unfairly may appeal within 30 days to: FOIL Appeals Officer, State University of New York, State University Plaza, Albany, New York 12246. A review of the request and the reason(s) for the denial will be made by the FOIL Appeals Officer.

For more information, see the Committee on Open Government.

 

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding the College's policy on the Freedom of Information Law, please contact:

Sean Dermody
Records Access Officer
Phone: (518) 564-2539
E-mail: dermodsb@plattsburgh.edu

Mailing Address:
Management Services
State University of New York College at Plattsburgh
101 Broad St.
Plattsburgh, NY 12901