FOIA: FOIA of FOIAs results

Our initial experience with FOIA process about the 2021 CSM Dean candidate Feedback FOIA didn’t align with expectations as described on the JMU BOV FOIA webpage. In particular, our request:

  • didn’t appear to be “interpreted liberally, in favor of access”, and
  • the timeline was unclear, and taking much longer than than the expected 5 working days

JMU AAUP sought information on all FOIA requests received through the JMU FOIA portal in the last three years. We submitted this request on May 10th, 2023 to better understand the FOIA process at JMU, including the detail required in the scope of requests and the time typically required to process requests. After some negotiation, the FOIA log data from all online FOIA requests since January 2020 was delivered to us on May 30th.

As of May 10th, 2023, there were 183 requests initiated through JMU FOIA online portal since January 1, 2020. Of these: 139 were marked as closed, 4 as open or due soon, and 40 are “waiting for requestor”.  Of the 139 closed, 118 were closed as fulfilled, 12 were closed but yielded no records, 4 were denied and closed, 4 were withdrawn and closed, and 4 classified as “not a request”.

We noticed that:

  • more than 74% of the closed requests were fulfilled within “5 working days”. (We actually used 8 calendar days as a proxy, after adding 2 days for a weekend and 1 day for submission.)
  • More than 95% of the closed requests were fulfilled within 12 work days, as allowed once the agency provides notification.  (We used 17 calendar days, with two weekends and 1 day for submission.)
  • Five of the 118 requests took longer than 12 working days, but only 1 took longer than a month to process.
    • Three salary information requests from The Breeze took up to three weeks to deliver.
    •  A request for records related to the 2021 DEI training pause took 17 weeks to deliver to The Breeze.

3 thoughts on “FOIA: FOIA of FOIAs results

  1. Any chance you would be willing to share this list? I asked the FOIA officer who came to a meeting about this specifically and she stated they list of FOIA cannot be shared without FOIA. Since you’ve already done the work, it would be nice if this list was shared publicly on the website.

    1. Thanks for the request @solvent25!
      I think there is a pretty good chance, and will ask others on the exec. We originally requested log reports of all FOIA requests submitted within the past 10 years, but we were told that they didn’t have that information. So we settled for the last 3 years as submitted through the JMU portal.

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