Requests for access to records may be made by U.S. mail, fax, email, in person, or over the phone. The FOIA does not require that a request be in writing or that the FOIA be specifically referenced in the request.
- From a practical perspective, it generally is helpful to both the requester and the person, receiving the request at VCU for the request to be reduced to writing. This creates a record of the request and should provide a clear statement of the records that are being requested.
Requests must identify the records that are being sought with “reasonable specificity.” This is a common-sense standard. It does not refer to or limit the volume or number of records that are being requested; instead, it requires that requests be specific enough to allow VCU to identify and locate the records that are being sought.
The request must seek access to existing records or documents. The FOIA does not require the production of information that is not a part of records or documents. Neither does it require the creation of records that do not exist.
The request may seek access to electronic records in any format used by VCU in the regular course of business.
- For example, if the requested records are maintained in an Excel database, one may elect to receive those records electronically, via email or on a CD, or to receive a printed copy of those records.
Cooperation with the efforts of VCU’s staff to clarify the type of records that are being sought or to attempt to reach a reasonable agreement on a response to a request for a large volume of records is strongly encouraged. Making a FOIA request is not an adversarial process but it may be necessary to discuss a particular request to ensure that the nature and scope of the request is fully understood.
Requests for records from VCU may be directed to University Public Affairs, P.O. Box 842041, Richmond, VA 23284: phone (804) 828-1231: fax (804) 828-2018, or email FOIAVCU@vcu.edu. Questions concerning requests for records from VCU may also be directed to that office. In addition, the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer questions about FOIA. The council may be contacted by email at email@example.com, or by phone at (804) 225-3056 or toll free at (866) 448-4100.