Access questioned in OU's new open records request office

The University of Oklahoma has established a new office to handle inquiries into disseminating public information, but there are questions about whether the office is in full compliance with state law.

The Open Records Office was created just over a month ago and is run through OU's collections department.

"OU saw the need for such an office to handle the voluminous open records requests we receive each week," said Jennifer Needham, manager.

Needham said her office will handle all open records requests, including all campuses. She said this is in compliance with the Oklahoma Open Records Act under the definition of a public body.

"We consider all three campuses one public body," Needham said.

Oklahoma County First Assistant District Attorney Scott Rowland said, "The question is, does the Oklahoma City campus constitute a separate public body?"

If the separate campuses constitute different public bodies, then those campuses each would be required to provide an individual to assist the public in obtaining records.

According to the law, at least one such person shall be available at all times to release records during the regular business hours of the public body. "Scott Cooper

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