"The rule in Ohio is that public records are the people's records, and that the officials in whose custody they happen to be are merely trustees for the people; therefore anyone may inspect such records at any time, subject only to the limitation that such inspection does not endanger the safety of the record, or unreasonably interfere with the discharge of the duties of the officer having custody of the same."
Patterson v. Ayers, 171 Ohio St. 369 (1960)
OHIO'S PUBLIC RECORDS LAW
Ohio's Public Records Act (the "Act") provides the public with procedures to request records from any public office in Ohio, while protecting certain types of records from release. It also establishes a legal process to enforce compliance when a requester feels that a public office has failed to satisfy its obligations. Under the Act, the general public may request to inspect or receive copies of public records maintained by a public entity. The request, while not required to be in writing, must sufficiently identify the records that are sought.
MAKING A PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST TO TRI-C
The College maintains its records in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws as well as its own Records Retention Schedule. For more information on how and where the College's records are maintained, please visit our Records Management page. To make a public records request for records maintained by the College:
Legal Services' procedure is to acknowledge all public records requests within 24 hours of receipt, excluding weekends/holidays/school closings.
The terms “records” and “public records” may not include every document or item found in a public office - only those documents which actually document the policies, operations, and other activities of the public office are public records. In addition, there are a number of laws which protect certain records by either requiring or
permitting a public office to withhold them from public release. Under these laws, portion of records may contain redactions of exempted information. However, Legal Services will provide the requester with an explanation for any part of a record withheld or redacted, including the legal authority that requires or permits that withholding.
Requesters who request "copies" of records, should specify the type of media on which copies should be produced and
how they would like the responsive records delivered (via email or regular mail). The College may require prepayment of copy costs (five cents per page), postage or other delivery cost, as well as the cost of supplies used in mailing, delivery, or transmission of responsive records. At this time the College does not charge for providing responsive records via email. However, some internet service providers limit the size of files which can be delivered via email. Should the size of the responsive document file exceed these limits, other arrangements for delivery will need to be made between the requester and Legal Services.
The College will produce all records responsive to a valid public records request within a reasonable period of time. If you have any questions or concerns regarding Public Records Requests in general or your request, please contact Legal Services.
For additional information on Ohio’s Public Records Act visit the Ohio Attorney General's Sunshine laws webpage
or the Ohio Revised Code website