The Texas Public Information Act ("PIA") generally gives individuals a right of access to university records. University records may exist in practically any medium, including hardcopy and electronic form. There is a presumption that all governmental records are available to the public, unless otherwise exempt by the PIA or other law. The PIA does not require a record be created where one did not exist prior to the request for information. Additionally, the PIA does not require the university to answer questions when information is not in a university record. Subpoenas are not covered by the PIA. Student education records may only be disclosed consistent with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
The Board of Regents has designated the General Counsel as the public information coordinator responsible for processing requests under the PIA. When a university official receives a request, it should be forwarded immediately to the Office of the General Counsel. The university has deadlines in which it must either release the information or request an opinion from the Attorney General regarding whether the information may be withheld. The Office of the General Counsel is also required to provide a monthly report of public information requests to Attorney General.
How to Request Public Information
All requests for public information should be sent to the Office of the General Counsel via mail, e-mail, fax or in person as follows:
Mail: Office of the General Counsel, Box 13065 SFA Station, Nacogdoches, TX 75962
In Person: Austin Building, Room 310
All requests should be in writing and include the requestor's name and contact information. The requests should also include a description of the records or information sought with as much specificity as possible. This will assist the university is accurately identifying and locating the records or information requested. If clarification is needed, the Office of the General Counsel will follow up with the requestor.
Timeline to Receive Requested Information
Requests are normally processed and the records released with ten (10) business days of receipt. Complex or voluminous requests may take more time. If an Attorney General opinion is sought it may be up to fifty-five (55) days before a ruling is received. The university would then process the request in accordance with that opinion.
Charges for Providing Information
The university may charge for providing public information in accordance with the fee schedule established by the Attorney General, available at 1 Tex. Admin. Code § 70.3. A deposit may be required if charg
A sign containing basic information about the rights of a requestor, the responsibilities of the university and the procedures for inspecting or obtaining public information is posted on the bulletin board maintained by the Office of University Marketing Communications and online.
If you have questions about open records, you can contact the Office of the General Counsel at 936-468-4305 or the Attorney General at its toll free Open Government Hotline, 877-673-6839 (ask for Open Government Hotline), or directly at 512-478-6736.