U Michigan makes up a bunch of non-reasons why it doesn't have do record retention


Small fines aren’t much of a deterrent, unless you’re concerned about your public image. As soon as the headline reads “University Found Guilty,” the dollar amount vanishes.

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It is certainly an anomalous name, anyway.

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If the fines are too low to be a deterrent, that’s one thing. But a two year prison sentence? Does the chap tasked with burning the files know he’s being set up to take the fall, or do the Unitops already know they’re safe because they’re chummy with the Govtops?


I assume the context of the Michigan policy is the attempt in 2011 by the Mackinac Center to use FOIA requests on email to fish for dirt on liberal professors at several universities, including some in Michigan. It seems hard to come up with a policy that on the one hand protects faculty from political witch hunts and on the other hand helps catch genuinely misbehaving employees.


I’m fine with a university creating any retention policy they want so long as it is evenly applied and nothing is destroyed once a valid FOIA request (meaning one not subject to FOIA exemptions) is made.

Of course alumni might be annoyed when their transcripts get deleted…

Public universities in Texas have a way to do that fairly well. Each university has a compliance program and office specifically for investigating violations of policy and standards of conduct, including things like sexual harassment, sexual assault, falsifying grades, discrimination, and stuff. There is a statute in the Texas Education Code, section 51.971, which makes a lot of the information generated in a compliance investigation confidential. The identity of the person who reported the alleged violation or went to the compliance office for guidance is confidential unless the person consents to disclosure of their identity. Witnesses in an investigation are also protected. If the investigation finds there was no wrongdoing, the identity of the accused is also confidential. But, at the same time, information about a completed investigation is generally public. Sounds like Michigan needs something like that.

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