Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How To Get Public Information Releases From UNCG

Today I was asked how to get Public Information Releases (PIRTs) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Not ever having done so myself I contacted one of our investigators and asked how it is done. Here's what I was told:

"Please let our readers know that a request for public records for University email is the same as any other public record request. Every email that is sent or received under must be retained and made available upon request. The UNCG servers keep back ups for five years.

PIRT requests should be very specific about what you are looking for (ex: all correspondence between 'x' and 'y' from 'date' to 'date'). You should also be aware that you will probably be charged a 'copying' fee which may include an hourly charge for the person making the copies.  University Counsel will delay provision of the documents for as long as they can. Learn persistence! They may claim that they cannot provide specific emails because they are part of an ongoing criminal matter or a personnel record. You should get this in writing.

I have attached the State and the UNCG policies. You should attend particularly to the state policies 132-6 (inspection and examination), 132-6.2 (provisions for copies), and 132-9 (Access). ( )

On a related note, as I predicted, many faculty and administrators are buying into the script the leadership wrote, that is, that this is a secondary employment issue. It is not. It is a hostile work environment issue that is centered on Human Resources and General Counsel.

I would love to see this conversation get back on track to the real problem. For several years, Human Resources has responded to claims of work force violence in two ways. One--tell the complainant that they do not have the right to make a formal complaint because they can't prove discrimination regarding a federally protected class (race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status) motivated the hostile behavior. Two--investigate the complainant in order to dismiss them for cause, forcibly transfer, or lay-off. The correct course of action would be to formalize the complaint under the authority of the WorkForce Violence Policy and investigate the person initiating the obnoxious behavior. 

If anyone wants to do a public records search you should ask for the paper trail following the initiation of the complaint on behalf of the photographers to Human Resources regarding bullying, intimidation, harassment, and undermining to the WorkPlace Violence Response Team and their report to the WorkPlace Violence Management Team. And what you'll find is nothing because UNCG will not admit that they condone through willful indifference bullying  that is initiated by faculty and administrators toward SPA employees."


NC Guide To Open Government and Public Records

University Policy Manual, Guide To Public Records, Electronic Records Retention

UNCG Public Records Law

Hope that helps. Should the staff at UNCG fail to comply with your PIRT request I recommend you e-mail them this blog post and complain to the NC Department of Justice. It won't take but just a few complaints from prominent citizens with letters behind their names to get ol' Roy Cooper to launch a Grand Jury investigation.

Note: It was the stories of a hostile work environment at UNCG that prompted our team at to start investigating UNCG months before Paul Mason was hired. We broke the story of the UNCG3 as a means of shining a light on that hostile work environment. While I've nothing to lose personally our embedded investigator could lose everything if discovered. And it's not like our embedded investigator has to do this. Our investigator is in a position that is mostly shielded from the problems most UNCG employees face.

Don't give in now. Don't give up and don't stop spreading the word. This person has taken huge personal risk for you.