Central State University completely compliant through legal counsel referrals
By: Kaitlin Fochesato
For The Post
Though Central State University fully complied with records requests conducts as a part of a statewide public records audit, no auditors walked away with a record in hand.
In January, two Post reporters, or auditors, travelled the two-hour distance west to Wilberforce to request a variety of records as a part of the Ohio Universities Public Records Audit.
All of the record requests were directed to Central State’s general counsel, who was not in the office that day.
The records requested are all considered public documents in the state of Ohio and should be available to anyone who would like to view them.
The last time The Gold Torch, Central State’s student newspaper, updated its website, the year was 2005.
Because the university has not had a student newspaper for more than 10 years, auditors from The Post at Ohio University traveled to campus to conduct the audit.
Out of the five records requested, none were provided to the auditors that day; however, the request was taken by Elizabeth Nash, a special assistant to the university’s general counsel.
Prior to speaking with Nash, the auditors were asked to provide their names and where they were from multiple times, information not required to place an open records request under Ohio Sunshine Law.
Nash confirmed with the auditors this was true, however, she said it would make sending the documents easier. She was provided with an email address and said she would send a confirmation email with the records requested before beginning the process of compiling the records.
The auditors were able to dictate their requests verbally to Nash.
However, several auditors at other universities were denied requests because they did not submit their requests in writing.
Ultimately, the five records were requested through legal affairs: the most recent performance evaluation of the university’s provost, the names of students found responsible for a violent crime during the 2014-15 academic year, the operating budget for the university’s College of Education during the 2014-15 academic year, the total amount of money brought in by selling tickets to home football games during the 2014-15 season and the amount of money the university foundation spent on travel to raise money during the 2014-15 academic year.
Out of the five offices visited by the auditors, they were told each time the administrator with authority for that office’s public records was not on campus yet. The auditors did not arrive until 9:30 a.m. on campus and the request for public records was ultimately made from legal affairs around 11 a.m. after waiting for over an hour for various officials to arrive on campus, some which still were not present.
According to the university’s website, the Newsom Administration Building and all the offices within it open at 8 a.m. Monday-Friday. Arriving 90 minutes past that time, the auditors encountered three administrators on a floor of two dozen offices.