Monday, October 4, 2010

UIS ignores attorney general's ruling on records

The University of Illinois Springfield is refusing to release records detailing conduct by athletic coaches that led to their forced resignations last year despite a ruling from the state attorney general’s office that the school has not overcome a presumption the documents are public records.

“UIS has failed to meet its burden of establishing that disclosure of the information … would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy of the student,” wrote Sara Gadola Gallagher, deputy public access counselor for Attorney General Lisa Madigan, in a Sept. 30 letter to Derek Schnapp, UIS spokesman.

In a letter Friday to The State Journal-Register, Schnapp said the requested records will not be released despite the ruling.

“Our belief is that the students’ personal privacy concerns clearly outweigh the public’s right to know,” Schnapp wrote.

The attorney general’s office ruled without seeing the records in question and without issuing a subpoena to compel the university to release the documents to the agency’s public access counselor, who has subpoena power in public-records cases. The university has told the attorney general’s office that it believes federal law bars release of the records.

The records request was featured in a October 2, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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