UO creates new Office of Public Records

EUGENE, Ore. – (May 28, 2010) – A new Office of Public Records will be established at the University of Oregon June 1, in a key step toward fulfilling President Richard Lariviere's pledge to make the university as responsive, open and transparent as possible.

Brian Smith, the UO assistant vice president for administration, will manage the new office as part of his existing responsibilities until a permanent public records officer is hired. He will begin constructing a framework for the new public records office.

"The University of Oregon has always recognized the importance of public access to its operations," Smith said. "Creation of the Office of Public Records emphasizes an institutional commitment to openness."

Smith has worked at the UO since 2002, and has been in his current position for almost four years. He received his bachelor's degree in political science from the UO, and a master's in business administration and law degree from Willamette University.

A regional search for a permanent director of the public records office will be chaired by UO Archivist Heather Briston. First review of applications for the new job will begin as early as June 14.

Applicants for the new, director-level position must have at least a bachelor's degree and a minimum of two years' working knowledge of public records law — preferably Oregon's.

The person who is hired will be "responsible for the effective, timely and thorough compliance with the public records law and managing, processing, and completing all public records requests submitted to the University of Oregon," according to the position description.

The UO currently receives 125 to 150 formal public records requests annually. The requests have been handled in the past by the Office of the General Counsel, which will continue to provide legal advice to the public records office.

Lariviere has said he wants the UO to take timely action on public records requests, and provide media and others with all information that the university can appropriately and legally release. In announcing creation of the Office of Public Relations, he instructed staff in all departments to respond as quickly as practical to all inquiries from the new office.

The university has established a new email address for public records communications: pubrec@uoregon.edu

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 63 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contact: Joe Mosley, UO media relations, 541-346-3606, jmosley@uoregon.edu

Source: Brian Smith, UO assistant vice president for administration, 541-346-3410, besmith@uoregon.edu