Public Records (FOIA)

Policy Type: 
Public Relations

I. Policy Title: Public Records (FOIA)

II. Who Does This Policy Affect

All HFC faculty, staff, students, vendors/contractors and visitors to our campus

III. Purpose

To provide guidance when requesting public records from the College.

IV. Policy Statement

The Board of Trustees recognizes the College’s responsibility to maintain public records of this College and to make them available, as requested, to the public in compliance with the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

The public records obtainable under FOIA are defined as writings prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by this College in the performance of an official function, from the time it is created with certain expectations.

Any person may make a request for public records of the College, and the College will respond appropriately in a timely manner. If the request is denied in whole or part, the College will provide an explanation for the denial. The person may copy or receive copies of the public record(s) requested. The College shall respond to such requests, after it is determined that the five (5) days response time can be met. A one (1) time ten (10) business days extension to respond is available, if the response requires extra time for searching and responding to the request.

The College may charge a fee for the labor associated with preparing the request, including the search, examination, review and separation/redaction of exempt material. They may also charge for copying costs and mailing of the records. No public record may be removed from the office in which it is maintained except by a Board officer or employee in the course of the performance of his/her duties.

Nothing in this policy shall be construed as preventing a Board member from inspecting, in the performance of his/her office duties, any record of this College, except for documents protected under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Social Security Privacy Act, the Bullard-Plawecki Act, the Michigan Open Meetings Act, and others.

It is the policy of the Board of Trustees that when the College receives in trust from a public agency information identified to be confidential or exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, Common Law, Privilege, Case Law, or Federal Law, the College will maintain the confidentiality of said information to prohibit its unauthorized disclosure.

Freedom of Information Act 1976, paragraph 15.243 et seq.

This Policy is not intended to expand or otherwise modify the College’s compliance responsibility as set forth in the Michigan FOIA, or any other applicable law or regulation.

The President/designee shall establish and publish procedures and guidelines to ensure proper compliance with the intent of this policy and FOIA. The procedures and guidelines must be posted on the College’s website. The President may designate an employee of the College to act on his behalf, as the FOIA Coordinator, to accept, process and determine responses to FOIA requests for Henry Ford College’s public records, and to update procedures and guidelines to ensure proper compliance with the intent of this policy and FOIA.

The Office of Legal Services will notify the President/designee of the FOIA request(s). Upon approval by the President/designee, the request will then be sent on behalf of HFC to the requesting public body(ies). The Office of Legal Services shall receive College responses and data collected from the department compiling response(s) to FOIA requests.

V. Definitions

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): An act that was enacted by the Michigan State Legislature in 1976 to allow all persons (except those incarcerated in state or local correctional facilities) access to “full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and public employees... so that they may fully participate in the democratic process.” MCLA 15.231§1(2).

Public Records: Writings prepared, owned, used by or in the possession of or retained by a public body in the performance of an official function from the time it is created are obtainable with certain exceptions.

Public Bodies: Includes state officers, employees, agencies, departments, divisions, bureaus boards, commissions, councils, school districts, and community colleges as well as any other body which is created by state or local authority or which is primarily funded by or through state of local authority. “Public Bodies” do not include private non-profit corporations.

See HFC’s FOIA webpage at https://www.hfcc.edu/about-us/foia for additional definitions and information.

VI. Responsible Party for Administration and Enforcement

Office of Legal Services
President of HFC
Vice Presidents of Finance, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs and Strategy and Communication

VII. Related Documents

The following link will take you to the College’s FOIA webpage and all documents related to FOIA.
https://www.hfcc.edu/about-us/foia

Freedom of Information Act
https://www.justice.gov/oip/freedom-information-act-5-usc-552

FERPA
https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

HIPAA
https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/laws-regulations/ind...

Social Security Privacy Act
https://www.ssa.gov/agency/privacyact.html

Bullard Plawecki Act
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-Act-397-of-1978.pdf

Open Meetings Act
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mcl-act-267-of-1976_158990_7.pdf

VIII. Policy History:

a. Current Policy Approved by Board: January 16, 2018
b. Previous Revision Date(s): _February 20,1995; July 1, 2015
c. Previous Policy Section: Public Relations; Previous Policy No. 7250

This policy supersedes and replaces any and all policies related to this subject

Adopted Date: 
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Private: 
Public
Status: 
Board Approved