Daily Texan explores wait, costs involved in open records requests at UT-Austin

By Morgan O’Hanlon
The Daily Texan
Originally published Oct. 31. 2018

How many times have UT students appealed Title IX sanctions to the President’s Office? That’s the question former Daily Texanreporter Will Clark was trying to answer late last year as he reported the story “Presidential Power,” which explains UT President Gregory Fenves’ unique power as the final decision maker in appeals cases regarding student conduct.

As part of his reporting, Clark, a radio-television-film junior, asked the University that question via an open records request, but the request was denied on basis that confidential student information could be released in the process. In his story, Clark used his knowledge of Fenves’ appeals privilege and records obtained from other universities to explain the discrepancy, but said the University’s decision to withhold the information was needlessly unclear. …

The UT Office of the Chief Financial Officer, which handles public information requests, received at least 1,700 requests in 2016 and 2017 and has already received at least that many requests in 2018, according to Open Records Coordinator Bob Davis. Due to the high volume of requests, Davis said the office marks the deadline to respond as the 10th day.

The wait doesn’t necessarily end there, either. If the office asks for clarification of a request, that clock will be reset after the requester responds.

Oh, by the way, the law also doesn’t guarantee those records will come for free.

See the full story here.