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Freedom of Information Law (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.

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 sample requests in Adobe PDF format here). 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.

What Records Are Available Under FOIL?

Current lists by subject matter of all records that may be in the possession of the State University of New York, whether or not available under the Freedom of Information Law, are available at the following links:

Under the Freedom of Information Law there is a presumption of access. Records (or portions of records) may only be denied if they fall under specific exceptions as outlined in Public Officers Law §87(2).

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.

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