Like It or Not: Valdosta State University

The truth will set you free. Unless it seems, you work for Valdosta State University, in which case it could cost you more than $7,000.

That’s how much the University wants to charge a professor who asked to see documents related to his personnel file.

Can you imagine asking your employer to see your file, and having to pay seven thousand dollars for the privilege? This is even more outrageous because Dr. Myron Faircloth’s employer is the state. And the state should obey its own Open Records Law.

Here’s the background. Dr. Faircloth got a tip several weeks ago that there may be some inappropriate emails circulating about him, so he decided to file an Open Records Request on himself, asking to see the last three years’ worth of university documents that mention him. He’s specifically looking for any student or faculty complaints against him and any open or pending investigations.

Sounds simple enough.

The university replied that it would cost $7,032.30. $434 for retrieval, a whopping $2,500 for redaction and $4,066.80 for a lawyer to review the documents. That doesn’t even include copies.

Valdosta State says the job would take 160 hours. This sounded so outrageous, I reached out to the university to make sure this was correct. They refused to even take my call. 

Are you kidding me? Four weeks of 9-to-5 work? If there really is that much in his file, and I highly doubt there is, all the more reason Dr. Faircloth deserves to see it.

Beyond that, the university pays an attorney full time to assist with legal affairs, including open records requests. And Georgia Open Records Law requires any charges to be reasonable. These charges are anything but.

The state attorney general’s office has been fairly quiet on the issue and has failed to respond to multiple inquiries from Dr. Faircloth, or me for that matter.

Perhaps you can help. And I hope you’ll try because we all have a stake in making sure the state treats its employees fairly.  And with transparency.

After all, they work for us.  And you could be next.  

Call the Board of Regents and tell them that Valdosta State’s behavior is unacceptable. Dr. Faircloth, and anyone else has the right to view those documents...and for a lot less than $7,000.

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DISCLAIMER: This segment represents the views of the commentator and not necessarily those of FOX 5 Atlanta.