UCSD Receives a ‘C’ Grade for following Calif. Public Records Act

A California government watchdog group gave all but three of the University of California campuses failing grades for failing to disclose public records in a timely manner — which is considered a violation of the California Public Records Act. Of the nine undergraduate campuses, UCSD was one of three undergraduate campuses to receive a passing grade for 2011.

The state watchdog group — “Californians Aware”— was founded in 2002 to evaluate the lawfulness of public institutions like the UC system, which receives 3,000 inquiries each year.

According to the group, 28.1 percent of public universities received failing grades while 31.3 percent received an A+ — none were UC schools.

UCSD, UC Merced and UC Berkeley passed with grades of D, D and C, respectively.

Grades were based on a number of factors, including schools’ promptness in responding to public record inquiries. Documents such as the campuses’ Chancellor’s Contract and Statement of Economic Interests were chosen to be audited, as they’re intended to be public. Of the nine campuses, six failed to respond within 10 days, which was seen as a violation of the California Public Records Act — a bill protecting the right of public access to government-related documents.

Californians Aware cited UCSD for four counts of misconduct, including failure to respond within 10 days, failure to provide employment contract and not responding to record responses.

Although the act does not explicitly state that universities must respond to inquiries within 10 days, campuses were marked down for failure to do so promptly.

Campus grades were also lowered for UC schools that referred public records requests to the UC Office of the President.

Grades for California State University campuses exceeded the UC schools, averaging a B-. Three campuses received an A+.

UC executives expressed dissatisfaction with methods and qualifications used in the audit.

Information Practices Act (IPA) coordinator Paula Johnson, who manages public record requests made at UCSD, could not be reached.

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