Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

State Records Committee Appeal 05-04

BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH

BARBARA SCHWARZ, Petitioner/Appellant,
vs.
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH, Respondent/Appellee.

DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 05-04

By this appeal, Barbara Schwarz seeks an order of the Committee requiring that the University of Utah provide her with: " (1) Any records on me, Barbara Schwarz, and also the often misspelled version of my name, Schwartz; (2) Any records on Mark C. Rathbun, and also the name Mark de Rothschild; (3) Any records on Scientology, or Church of Scientology; (4) Any records on deceased Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard; (5) Any records on the former president Dwight David Eisenhower." Petitioner indicated further that the search was to be conducted "in all your university components, all divisions and all offices, in all your records systems from present time as far back as you can . . . ." The State Records Committee, having reviewed the materials submitted by the parties, and having heard oral argument and testimony of the parties on February 10, 2005, now issues the following Decision and Order.

STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION


1. The Government Records Access and Management Act ("GRAMA") specifies that "[a]ll records are public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(2). "Every person has the right to inspect a public record free of charge and the right to take a copy of a public record during normal working hours subject to Sections 63-2-203 and 63-2-204." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(1). Records classified as "private, controlled or protected" or otherwise "restricted pursuant to court rule, another state statute, federal statute, or federal regulation . . ." are not public. Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(3).

2. A person making a records request to a governmental entity must identify the record with "reasonable specificity." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-204(1). The Act also recognizes that a "government entity is not required to create a record in response to a request." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(8)(a).

3. The issue before the Committee is whether, under the totality of the circumstances, Petitioner has provided the University with a legally sufficient description of the records she seeks. Under Utah Code Ann. 63-2-204(1), that description must identify the records sought with reasonable specificity. After considering the breadth of these requests and the vast quantities of records held by University administration and its departments, the Committee is persuaded that Petitioner's request fails to comply with Utah Code Ann. 63-2-204(1). Under this section, a request should be specific enough that a records manager who is familiar with the agency's records would understand which records are being sought. Petitioner has not described the records she seeks with sufficient detail. Therefore, we deny her appeal.

ORDER

WHEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Ms. Schwarz is denied for the reasons set forth above.

RIGHT TO APPEAL

Either party may appeal this Decision and Order to the district court. The petition for review must be filed no later than thirty (30) days after the date of this Order. The petition for judicial review must be a complaint. The complaint and the appeals process are governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and Utah Code Ann. 63-2-404. The court is required to make its decision de novo. In order to protect its rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.

Entered this 15th day of February, 2005.

BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE

Patricia Smith-Mansfield, Chairperson
State Records Committee