Ohio’s Public Records Act
Under the Ohio Public Records Act (Ohio Revised Code 149.43), any person may request to inspect or receive copies of public records maintained by a public office. A request does not need to be in writing, but, the requester must provide enough information to identify the records with sufficient clarity.
The Ohio Public Records Act defines “public records” as information stored on a fixed medium (tapes, emails, photos, films, videos, papers, etc.), that is created or received by, or comes under the jurisdiction of a public office, and documents the duties of the public office (the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office). A public office has no obligation to create new records, store records on a particular media, provide duplication of voluminous files, or provide internet access to electronic public records.
While the Ohio Public Records Act favors access to records maintained by a public office, the law also provides exceptions to protect certain information from mandatory disclosure. Some common exceptions to the required disclosure of public records include:
- Student educational records (such as grades, ethnicity, etc.)
- Medical records
- Employees' personal information (such as social security numbers, medical and beneficiary information, etc.)
- Criminal History information obtained law enforcement databases
- Confidential law enforcement investigatory records (CLEIRs), which may include names of uncharged suspects, confidential sources, or investigatory work product
- Security and infrastructure records used for protecting or maintaining the security of a public office (such as its computer, electrical, mechanical, or security systems, etc.)
- Certain confidential trade secrets (such as business or financial information, etc.)
- Records prohibited from being released by state or federal law – often referred to as the “catch-all” exception (such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act [FERPA], Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA], etc.)
Making a Public Records Request
To submit a public records request, please email email@example.com, call (614) 287-5939, or mail your request to: Legal Office, Columbus State Community College, 550 East Spring St., Columbus, OH 43215.
Any documents identified as responsive to your public records request will be provided within a reasonable period of time.
There is no charge for viewing (inspecting) public records. Copies of public records may be charged at the following rate:
- Paper copies – 10 cents per page.
- Downloaded computer files on a compact disc - $1 per disc.
- Electronic records sent via e-mail to the requester incur no charge.
Requesters may have copies of records mailed to them by paying the actual cost of postage and mailing supplies in addition to the cost of making the copies.
To Request Student Records – contact the Office of the Registrar.
- Columbus State Public Records Policy 11-06
- Columbus State Public Records Procedure 11-06(B)
- Ohio Attorney General’s Sunshine Law Manual
- Sunshine Laws Informational Videos
- Ohio Public Records Act (Ohio Revised Code 149.43)
Forms for Columbus State Employees:
- Columbus State Public Records Poster
- Columbus State Public Records FAQs
- Columbus State Public Records Request Form
- Columbus State Public Records Quick Reference Guide