Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Open Records, UGA Style

Every so often I make an open records request for all open records requests from UGA (where I work as a journalism prof). It's a great teaching tool for students, showing them the kind of things that get requested. I just finished using it in one class and will use it in another class later this week, but I thought I'd share some of the findings. Yes, I've written about previous searches. Go look for them if you like.

First, these are all open records requests this calendar year, ending with (obviously) my request for these records. There were 296 request so far this year. That's a lot of requests. The winner, yet again, are those pesky sports reporters. Out of 296 total requests, 127 (42.9 percent) involved athletics. Here are the Top 5 in terms of where the requests were funneled.
  1. Athletics (127)
  2. Procurement (22)
  3. Legal affairs (19)
  4. CAES (18)
  5. Registrar (17)
Notice the huge drop from #1 to #2, and after #5 we hit the single digits. By the way, The R&B is high on the list as well. Now let's look at the top folks keeping our open records people busy (a good thing, in my book, as I teach a class in finding and using public documents). As you'd expect, sports dominates the list, usually requests for coaches contracts, stuff like that.
  1. Marc Weiszer (29 requests, sports)
  2. Seth Emerson (18 requests, sports)
  3. Jason Butt (15 requests, sports)
  4. Anthondy Dasher (6 requests, sports)
  5. North American Procurement Council (6 requests, no idea).
OK, that last one. What the hell, right?  It's a real thing, has a web page and all. What kind of stuff are they asking for? A copy of "plan-holders for the Chillder replacement at Terrell Hall at UGA" and a copy of "the list of plan-holders of the Blueberry Reserach Building at UGA" and stuff like that. No, I don't have a clue, but ever request asks for the "plan holders" and I don't even know what that means.

And there are odd requests, sometimes good enough to be a story, but most not, like a list of all pecan growers in Georgia. 

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