Category: public records requests

U of Oregon students told that court data would cost them $139 thou

The Eugene Weekly in partnership with a student project out of the University of Oregon started looking into the correlations between race, homeless and criminal charges. They requested data from the courts and police.

Reporter Kenny Jacoby reported this in a story about their methodology:

In May, the Eugene police declined to provide the computer data as we had requested. Instead, the police told us we would need to examine the actual paper tickets and case files — more than 37,000 of them. We would be allowed to examine the files if the police pulled each file by hand, one by one, and only if we paid the police department’s costs for providing the documents.

The bill for this service? $139,132.50.

You can check out that story here. 

And you can check out the story Criminalizing Homelessness here.

Vermont Agency of Education must provide bullying records to reporter

A superior court judge last month ordered the state education department in Vermont to release records  it had denied Lola Duffort, who was a reporter for the Rutland Herald when she filed a public records request for any data the agency had collected on bullying in public schools. She had to file suit in court after the agency denied her request, getting help from the ACLU, reported non-profit news site VTDigger.

You can check out the story here. 

Duffort was nice enough to shoot us over a copy of her original public records request. Here it is:


Summer plan To Do list #2: Check out your school’s admissions enrollment data

By now, your college or university knows who it admitted and who it rejected. Get the data on that — how many, what geographies they came from, what ethnicities and genders they represent. It is probably on the university website. If not, request it through a state public records act request. Then compare that against your local census data and data from across the state by looking it up on the U.S.Census American Factfinder site. 

If you can find a wide discrepancy between your state demographics and the university’s demographics this could be the basis for a good story for your back to school issue in the fall.