The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act
The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, Ark. Code Ann. §25-19-101 et seq. (“Act”), guarantees Arkansas citizens access to public records held by public bodies and public officials.
A public record is any form of writing, recording, electronic or computer-based information that is prepared by or in the custody of a public body or its officers, employees or agents, and maintained within the scope of their employment. All public records are open to inspection and copying by any Arkansas citizen during regular business hours.
Making a request for records from the University of Central Arkansas
- The Act does not require that your request be in writing, nor do you need to specifically state that you are requesting records under the Act; however, please be specific enough so that the University can identify and locate the records that you are seeking. You may request public records by contacting Fredricka Sharkey, director of media relations, by U.S. mail, fax, e-mail, phone or in person.
- Your request must ask for existing records or documents. The Act gives you a right to inspect or copy records; it does not require UCA to create a record that does not exist.
- UCA officials must make the documents available immediately upon receiving the FOI request. If the document is in active use or storage, UCA officials must notify the individual requesting the document within 24 hours and make the document available within three days.
- UCA charges the actual costs of reproduction for all documents. State law allows fees for any costs associated with publication and reproduction but cannot include fees associated with the payment of personnel. The department may require the fee to be prepaid if the cost is over $25. Arkansans have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance. Fees can be waived on an individual basis if the records are requested for the public interest and not for commercial purposes.
- Arkansans can review documents in person at no cost.
The Act contains specific types of public records which do not have to be disclosed.
Some of these are:
- Education records protected under a federal law dealing with students’ privacy.
- Certain types of personnel records.
- Medical records protected by federal privacy laws.
- Vendor proprietary information.
- Records relating to the negotiation and award of a contract, prior to a contract being awarded.