Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act
Section 1 of the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA” or “the statute”) provides, “It is the public policy of this state that all persons, except those persons incarcerated in state or local correctional facilities, are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and public employees, consistent with this act. The people shall be informed so that they may fully participate in the democratic process.” To that end, all people, excluding prisoners, are allowed to file FOIA requests with a Public Body. A requester must simply file a request in writing with the University’s FOIA Office, and the University will begin processing his or her request.
The University, in its initial response, will do one of the following within the timeframe permitted by the statute: grant the request, partially grant the request, deny the request, inform the requester that additional time is needed, require a fee deposit prior to further processing, or inform the requester that the requested record has not been sufficiently described.
If a request is denied or partially denied, the University will explain why the documents have not been released and inform the requester of his or her challenge and appeal options.
A fee deposit will be required when processing a request will require significant University employee time and resources. The University will notify the requester of the estimated cost and provide a non-binding, best efforts estimate of the time it will take to complete the processing of the request. It is possible that after further processing of the request, the University will determine that the cost of processing the request is significantly less or greater than the estimated cost. If that is the case, the University will notify the requester to allow the requester to determine whether and how he or she wants to proceed with the request.
After the University receives a required deposit, it will make every effort to provide the requested documents within the time estimate provided. Requesters must understand, however, that at any given time, the University is processing multiple requests and cannot devote all of its time to one particular request.