Open Records Act Policy

Type of Policy: 
Administrative
Effective Date: 
September 2012
Last Revised: 
September 2012
Review Date: 
September 2015
Policy Owner: 
Office of Legal Affairs
Contact Name: 
Kate Wasch
Contact Title: 
Managing Attorney
Contact Email: 
asklegal@gatech.edu
Reason for Policy: 

As a public institution, Georgia Tech is subject to the Open Records Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 et seq. The law requires that Georgia Tech make available for public inspection public documents within three business days of receiving a request. The purpose of this policy and its procedures is to ensure compliance with the law.

Policy Statement: 

Georgia Tech must respond to Open Records Act requests as required by the Open Records Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 et seq. (the “ORA”). With limited exceptions, Georgia Tech must respond to such requests within three business days. In response to an ORA request, Georgia Tech will allow the requester to view public documents and, for a fee, make copies.

The Office of Legal Affairs (“OLA”) has been designated by the President of Georgia Tech as the office responsible for responding to ORA requests on behalf of the custodian of the records. Departments and school, as custodians of Georgia Tech’s records, must work in cooperation with OLA to ensure Georgia Tech’s compliance with the ORA. The custodian of the records remains responsible for compliance with the ORA and for any civil or criminal penalties imposed for failure to comply.

Departments, schools, faculty or staff who receive an ORA request from any person, or an ORA inquiry from OLA, shall respond promptly, following the procedures in this policy.

Scope: 

This Policy applies to all Georgia Tech departments, schools, faculty, and staff.

Policy Terms: 

Public Records
All documents or other records (including video, audio, or electronic records) prepared or maintained by Georgia Tech, as well as documents prepared or maintained by its employees as part of their job responsibilities, are subject to the ORA. For example, employee notes of official University business (e.g., notes of meetings) are public, not personal, documents. The ORA includes “computer based or generated information” within the definition of a “public record.” This includes, for example, e-mail and logs kept on a server.

Custodian
The person responsible for maintaining the records in the ordinary course of business.

Procedures: 

See Office of Legal Affairs website.

Responsibilities: 

The Office of Legal Affairs
OLA has been designated by the President of the Institute as the office responsible for responding to ORA requests.

Georgia Tech Departments and Schools
Georgia Tech departments and schools are responsible for maintaining their own records and for collecting and preparing requested documents in response to an ORA request.

Enforcement: 

Any person who knowingly and willfully fails to respond to a written ORA request may be found guilty of a misdemeanor criminal act, and fined up to $1,000 for the first violation. Additional civil and criminal penalties may also be imposed.

Violation of this Georgia Tech policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Policy History: 
Revision DateAuthorDescription
04-17-2012Office of Legal AffairsUpdate per change in ORA law.
10-12-2012Office of Legal AffairsEstablished a formal written policy.