Public Records Information & Resources
The Washington State Public Records Act, enacted in 1972, guarantees citizens of our state transparency and complete access to government records.
Public Records include any writing, electronic media, email, video recording and/or other recording and must be an existing and identifiable record. Any record created by an employee or representative of the state as part of their official duties or using state resources is a potential public record. Read the full text of the act.
How to Request Public Records
Public records may be requested by contacting the Public Records Officer using the following contact information or by submitting a records request via our records request form.
Within five business day of receipt of the request, you will either receive the record or will be contacted in writing. Written responses will be to acknowledge the request and provide a date the records will be available, to deny the request with an explanation of the denial, or to ask for further clarification.
Please keep in mind the College's response time will depend on the number of public record requests being processed by the College, how many records are responsive to the request, how old the records being requested are, and how specific the request is.
For large requests, the College may provide documents to citizens on an installment basis.
Providing Requested Material to Citizens
There is no charge for inspection and review of records. Citizens are welcome to contact the Public Records Officer to set-up a time during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am - 5 pm, for such a review. It is the standard policy of the College to provide you with records electronically via email attachment or web links, if available.
Exemptions to Disclosure
The Public Record Law has few exemptions that are generally narrowly interpreted. All records are considered public unless a specific exemption can be cited.
The College is also bound by the provisions of several other Acts which may prevent the release of certain records. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is the most commonly used law for higher education institutions which protects student education records.
Internal Responses to Public Records Requests
Public Records include any form of writing and recording that is prepared, owned, used, or retained by the College. Any record created using public resources is considered the property of the state. All employees and officers of the College are bound by law to comply with this Act and to provide any applicable record to the Public Records Officer. When complying with requests, please keep the following points in mind:
- The College has a limited amount of time to comply with requests. Please turn over records at the earliest possible opportunity or contact the Public Record Officer if you are not able to do so.
- All records are reviewed by the Public Records office prior to disclosure. Please provide documents in a timely manner that allows the Public Records Officer enough time to review these documents.
- Only the Public Records Officer and the College's legal representative can determine if an exemption exists. Employees must turn over all records to the College's designated Officer for review.
- All exemptions and redactions must be logged, along with the applicable statute providing this exemption, and submitted to the requestor.
If a court finds the College to have improperly withheld documents , the College can be fined $5 to $100 per day, per document, along with attorney fees and other damages.
What Is Not Considered a Public Records Request
- An employee request to view his or her personnel file (Contact Human Resource Services)
- Student requests for review of his or her educational records (Contact Registrar)
- Requests by state employees for information in an official capacity
- Legally issued subpoenas and court orders
- Requests by oversight agencies as part of their official duties (State Auditor's Office, the Internal Revenue Service, etc.)