The Texas Public Information Act, or 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, or FERPA.
The SFA Board of Regents has designated the Office of 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. General Counsel also is required to provide a monthly report of public information requests to attorney general.
How to request public information
All requests must be in writing and include:
- the requestor's name and contact information
- and a description of the records or information sought with as much specificity as possible.
This will assist the university in accurately identifying and locating the records or information requested. If clarification is needed, the General Counsel will follow up with the requestor.
Written requests for public information should be sent to General Counsel by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, faxing 936.468.3875, bringing request in person to Austin Building, Room 310 or via mail:
Office of the General Counsel
P.O. Box 13065 SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962
Timeline to receive requested information
Requests are normally processed and the records released with 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 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, as stated in 1 Tex. Admin. Code § 70.3. If charges are expected to exceed $100, a deposit may be required .
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 in the University Marketing Communications office and on the attorney general's Open Government website.
If you have questions about open records, contact General Counsel 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.