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POLICY LIBRARY
POLICY
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ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY
Home : Administration & Operations : Compliance and Legal

Public Access to University Information

Effective Date: January 1999
Last Update: April 2014  Recently Updated Policy
Responsible University Officer:
  • General Counsel
Policy Owner:
  • Director of Records and Information Management
Policy Contact:

Printed on: . Please go to http://policy.umn.edu for the most current version of the Policy or related document.

POLICY STATEMENT

The University will provide convenient and timely access to all public information in accordance with Minnesota's Public Records Law, the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA), Chapter 13 of the Minnesota Statutes. The MGDPA applies to all government data that is "collected, created, received, disseminated or maintained by the University, regardless of physical form, storage media or conditions of use." This includes all University work-related information produced or held on University-owned devices or on employee owned devices such as tablets or smartphones.

The Coordinator of Records and Information Management (RIM) is the Responsible Authority and Data Practices Compliance Official under the MGDPA and is responsible for managing and fulfilling requests for information in accordance with the MGDPA. Wherever possible, the University will direct requesters to existing sources of public information.

Units that receive requests from either the public or subjects of data must send those requests to the RIM Office for review and response.

Individuals who are the subjects of data collected or maintained about them by the University have the right to:

  • know what data is kept and how it is classified;
  • notification when private or confidential data is collected from them;
  • challenge the accuracy or completeness of data about them; and
  • have private data secured.

REASON FOR POLICY

The University adheres to the provisions of state and federal privacy and records laws. In so doing, the University:

  • Increases the value of University information resources through widespread and appropriate use.
  • Prevents the inappropriate and unauthorized disclosure of information and thereby avoids adverse legal consequences.

Providing efficient and effective access allows the University to minimize expenses related to record keeping and document production and maximize the resources devoted to the primary mission of the University.

PROCEDURES

FORMS/INSTRUCTIONS

There are no forms associated with this policy.

APPENDICES

The following appendices are under development:

  • Guidelines for Charging for Copies of Public Data

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

There is no FAQ associated with this policy.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS

Subject
Contact
Phone
Fax/Email
Primary Contact(s)
612-624-9546
Access to Public Data
Records and Information Management
612-625-3497
Questions From Media
University Relations
612-624-8038

DEFINITIONS

Access
The ability to view information, and, when applicable, update or download it. Access is provided to individuals and groups of individuals based on state and federal law and University policy. Access to private or confidential data, and access which permits data updates or downloads requires specific permissions related to job responsibilities.
Data
Information collected, stored, transferred or reported for any purpose, whether stored electronically or in paper files.
Data Custodian
Representatives of the University who are assigned responsibility to serve as a steward of University data in a particular area. They are responsible for developing procedures for creating, maintaining, and using University data, based on University policy and applicable state and federal laws.
Data Owner
Individuals, who in the course of carrying out the University's official business, serve as stewards of data in alignment with their function at the institution. This role is responsible for the accuracy of institutional data that they manage.
Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act
Federal law (P.L. 93-568, 2) as amended in 1974 (with updates). Specifies rights and responsibilities of students and colleges regarding access to student data.
Information/Data Classifications
A determination that establishes the breadth of access to information See Appendix: Examples of Public, Private and Confidential Information.
Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA)
Legislation governing access to information that is created, received, and maintained by the Minnesota government entities.
Security Incident
An intentional or accidental occurrence affecting information or related technology in which there is a loss of data confidentiality or integrity, or a disruption and/or denial of availability.
Security Measures
Processes, software and/or hardware used by system and network administrators to assure confidentiality, integrity and availability of computers, networks and data belonging to the University and users of University computer and network resources. Security measures include the ability to review files for potential or actual policy violations and responsibility for investigation of security related issues.
Security Violations
Any action that does not comply with system security concepts, policies, processes, procedures or measures.
University Information
Information collected, manipulated, stored, reported or presented in any format, on any medium, by any unit of the University.

RESPONSIBILITIES

General Counsel
Provide legal advice to University staff and decision makers to ensure compliance with state and federal law, including the proper classification of University Data.
Records and Information Management Office
  • Serves as the responsible authority and data practices compliance official under the MGDPA
  • Fulfills requests for public information that cannot be met through existing reports and other materials.
  • Assists General Counsel in advising University staff and other decision-makers regarding access to University information.
  • Maintains Appendix: Examples of Public, Private and Confidential Information, specifically, the section on what U information is classified as Public or Not Public.

RELATED INFORMATION

HISTORY

Amended:
April 2014 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revision. 1. A new procedure covered the rights of subjects of government data was added. 2. The reason for policy was clarified and the process for making data requests was enhanced. 3. Outdated definitions were removed.
Effective:
January 1999

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Last modified on April 22, 2014