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EIU Office of General Counsel

Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act "entitles the public to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials and public employees."

Freedom of Information Act Officer

Austin Hill, General Counsel, is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer for the University.  All FOIA requests should be addressed to his attention.

How do I request access to the University's public records?

In order to request access to public records, you may submit a request to:

Austin Hill
General Counsel/FOIA Officer
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920

Email requests should be addressed to

Feel free to use our FOIA request form located under Forms on this website.

Can anyone request access to public records?

Yes, under the Freedom of Information Act, any person may inspect or obtain copies of certain public records maintained by the University.

What is the cost for filing a request?

Filing a request is free, but there may be a cost for copies. The first fifty (50) black and white copies are provided without charge, and the cost is $.15/page for each additional copy. If the record is maintained as a color copy and if color copies are requested, the actual cost of making the copy will be charged. This also applies to documents of irregular size. For commercial requests, the university may charge $10/hr. for retrieval. The first eight (8) hours are without charge.

How do I know if my request has been approved or denied?

The Freedom of Information Officer will respond to your request by letter (postmarked) within five business days after the request is received.

What happens if my request for public records is approved?

The requester may inspect the records which have been made available during normal business hours in a specified office. The requester shall make an appointment for inspection of the records prior to arrival. Copies of the records may also be provided.

Commercial request:

A response to a request with a commercial purpose shall be sent to the requester within 21 working days after its receipt.

What types of records are accessible to the public?

Public records include:

" . . . (A)ll records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, recorded information and all other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared, or having been or being used, received, possessed or under the control of any public body. "Public records" includes, but is expressly not limited to: (i) administrative manuals, procedural rules, and instructions to staff, unless exempted by Section 7(p) of this Act; (ii) final opinions and orders made in the adjudication of cases, except an educational institution's adjudication of student or employee grievance or disciplinary cases; (iii) substantive rules; (iv) statements and interpretations of policy which have been adopted by a public body; (v) final planning policies, recommendations, and decisions; (vi) factual reports, inspection reports, and studies whether prepared by or for the public body; (vii) all information in any account, voucher, or contract dealing with the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds of public bodies; (viii) the names, salaries, titles, and dates of employment of all employees and officers of public bodies; (ix) materials containing opinions concerning the rights of the state, the public, a subdivision of state or a local government, or of any private persons; (x) the name of every official and the final records of voting in all proceedings of public bodies; (xi) applications for any contract, permit, grant, or agreement except as exempted from disclosure by subsection (g) of Section 7 of this Act; (xii) each report, document, study, or publication prepared by independent consultants or other independent contractors for the public body; (xiii) all other information required by law to be made available for public inspection or copying; (xiv) information relating to any grant or contract made by or between a public body and another public body or private organization; (xv) waiver documents filed with the State Superintendent of Education or the president of the University of Illinois under Section 30-12.5 of the School Code, concerning nominees for General Assembly scholarships under Sections 30-9, 30-10, and 30-11 of the School Code; (xvi) complaints, results of complaints, and Department of Children and Family Services staff findings of licensing violations at day care facilities, provided that personal and identifying information is not released; (xvii) records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, and other documentary information, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared, or having been or being used, received, possessed, or under the control of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority dealing with the receipt or expenditure of public funds or other funds of the Authority in connection with the reconstruction, renovation, remodeling, extension, or improvement of all or substantially all of an existing "facility" as that term is defined in the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority Act; and (xviii) reports prepared by institutions of higher education in the State of Illinois documenting their relationship with credit card issuers, otherwise disclosed to the Illinois Board of Higher Education." (5 ILCS 140/2c)

Are there any circumstances which permit the response to my request to be extended beyond the required five business days?

Yes, according to section 3e of the Freedom of Information Act, the following are all reasonable circumstances in which the time period can be extended:

(i) the requested records are stored in whole or in part at other locations than the office having charge of the requested records;

(ii) the request requires the collection of a substantial number of specified records;

(iii) the request is couched in categorical terms and requires an extensive search for the records responsive to it;

(iv) the requested records have not been located in the course of routine search and additional efforts are being made to locate them;

(v) the requested records require examination and evaluation by personnel having the necessary competence and discretion to determine if they are exempt from disclosure under Section 7 of this Act or should be revealed only with appropriate deletions;

(vi) the request for records cannot be complied with by the public body within the time limits prescribed by paragraph (c) of this Section without unduly burdening or interfering with the operations of the public body;

(vii) there is a need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another public body or among two or more components of a public body having a substantial interest in the determination or in the subject matter of the request.

When an extension of time is required, the University will notify the individual making the written request within the time limits specified.

Which records are exempt from public inspection and copying?

All records listed under section seven of the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/7) are exempt from public inspection and copying.

What if my request for public records has been denied?

If the appeal is denied, the requester is entitled to judicial review pursuant to Section 11 of the Freedom of Information Act. The requester may also request a review by the Public Access Counselor: Sarah Pratt, Acting Public Access Counselor, Office of the Attorney General, 500 S. 2nd Street, Springfield, Illinois 62706; Phone:  1-877-299-FOIA (1-877-299-3642); Fax: 217-782-1396; E-mail:

Related Pages

Contact Information

General Counsel/FOIA Officer
Austin Hill

Eastern Illinois University
Blair Hall - Room 2102
600 Lincoln Avenue Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-7264

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