Mississippi Public Records Act
Under the Mississippi Public Record Act of 1983, Miss. Code, §§25-61-1, et seq., any person has the right to inspect, copy, or mechanically reproduce or obtain a reproduction of any public record. Public records include books, records, papers, accounts, letters, maps, photographs, films, cards, tapes, recordings or reproductions thereof possessed by the University and used in conducting public business. Individuals requesting public records must put their request in writing. After receiving a written request for the production of a public record, the University of Mississippi has fourteen working days to respond. Costs may be assessed to the requestor for providing access to and/or copies of the records being requested. The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning has adopted a policy for determining the appropriate costs. See IHL Policy 301.0804.
Despite the general policy that public records are available for inspection, there are a number of exceptions. One exception provides that records containing trade secrets or confidential commercial or financial information are exempt from disclosure. Another exception states that records which are confidential or privileged under federal law are not subject to inspection, examination, copying or reproduction. Another exception is for certain academic records, which would include test questions and answers in the possession of the University of Mississippi that are to be used in future academic examinations and letters of recommendation in the possession of the University of Mississippi regarding admission to any educational agency or institution.
If a public records request is denied, the University of Mississippi must inform the individual in writing, including a statement of the specific reason(s) for the denial. Any individual who is wrongly denied the right to inspect and/or copy public records may institute a suit in Lafayette County Chancery Court to enforce the Public Records Act.