Public Records


The Public Records Office processes, tracks, and responds to all public records requests made to the University. Our mission is to promote transparency and accountability in University operations and decision-making by making records accessible to the public consistent with RCW 42.56 (Public Records Act).

Effective July 1, 2023, WSU will charge for copies of public records, including electronic copies and files, in accordance with WAC 504-45-070.  More information, including WSU’s fee schedule, is available in the FAQs below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Public records:

  • Include any writing in virtually any form; and
  • Contain information relating to the conduct of University business or the performance of any University governmental or proprietary function; and
  • Are prepared, owned, used, or retained by the University.

  • It is a request from a member of the public for identifiable University records that meet the definition of a public record.
  • It is not a request from a University department or employee acting in an official University capacity. An employee acting on their own behalf and not on behalf of the University may submit a public records request. If this is the case, University resources must not be used to make the request.

  • Online requests via are preferred; however, requests are also accepted via e-mail, U.S. mail, or in-person during regular business hours. For requesters not using NextRequest, the public records request form should be used.
  • A request must seek an “identifiable record.” This means that the requester must tell the University how to identify the records requested and, if possible, where at WSU the records can be found and provide a date or date range for the records.
  • If the request is not clear, the University may request clarification. If the requester fails to clarify, the University need not continue processing the request.
  • Only existing records are public records. The law does not require the creation of new records to respond to a public records request.

No. The law provides that certain records are exempt from public disclosure. Just a few examples follow, but refer to the public records law for more exemptions.

  • Social security numbers;
  • Lists of individuals requested for commercial purposes;
  • Medical records of University personnel;
  • Unsuccessful applicants’ applications for public employment, including the names of applicants, resumes, and other related materials submitted by applicant;
  • Test questions, scoring keys, and other examination data used to administer any examination;
  • Student education records as provided under the FERPA, the Family Educational Rights, and Privacy Act;
  • Library information about library users; and
  • Credit and debit card numbers, account numbers, expiration dates, and personal financial data.

Once the Public Records Office receives a request, it responds within five business days. The response consists of one of the following actions:

  • Release of the records;
  • Denial of the request;
  • Request for clarification;
  • Providing an acknowledgment and a time estimate for when the University believes it might be able to provide the records.
  • This time estimate is subject to change.

No. Once a public records request is received, it becomes a public record of the University. When records are gathered to fulfill a request, the records may contain the names of employees, students, or third parties. The University may notify individuals regarding disclosure of records that contain their name or other identifiers. Requesters should be aware that such notices typically include the name of the requester and/or a copy of the request.

The law provides that employees can view their own personnel records. They should contact University Human Resource Services if they wish to do so. An employee should not submit a public records request to view their own personnel file. See BPPM 90.07.

Students have the right to view their own student education records. They should contact the University Registrar’s Office if they wish to do so. A student should not submit a public records request to view their own personal student education records. See BPPM 90.06.

University departments are not the public and should not use a public records request as a method to obtain assistance from another University department. Official University business should be a direct transaction between the departments involved.

Yes. The Public Records Office charges in accordance with a fee schedule. A deposit may be required. All costs must be paid within 30 days of invoicing. Requesters may ask for a summary of charges before copies are made.

If the requester only wants to inspect records not requiring redaction and does not want a copy, there is no charge. During inspection of the records, University personnel will be present with a person who views the records to ensure protection of the records and to maintain the order of the records.

Do you still have questions about the public records request process?

Contact the Public Records Office between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on regular University workdays. You may telephone the Public Records Officer, Alicia Foth, at 509-335-3928. We will do our best to assist you.