Maryland Student Sex Assault Records (Townson University)

Justin McLachlan filed this request with the Townson University of Maryland.
Multi Request Maryland Student Sex Assault Records
Due Feb. 21, 2021
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Justin McLachlan


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Maryland Public Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

1) any and all records regarding the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the institution against any student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence (as that term is defined in section 16 of title 18 of the United States Code), or a nonforcible sex offense from the date of this request through the previous five years;

2) any and all requests under the Maryland Public Information Act for any records of student disciplinary proceedings, including the entirety of the University's response — any responsive records released and correspondence to and from the requester from the date of this request through the previous five years;

Please note, sexual assault records are exempt from the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act's privacy requirements "if the institution determines as a result of that disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the institution's rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense." 20 U.S.C. § 1232g

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Justin McLachlan

From: Townson University

Good Afternoon Mr. McLachlan,

Enclosed please find the University’s response to your records request.

Sincerely,
Eduardo

[Towson University logo]<http://www.towson.edu/>
Eduardo Duenas
Paralegal | Office of the General Counsel

P: 410-704-4003
eduenas@towson.edu<mailto:eduenas@towson.edu> | www.towson.edu/counsel/<http://www.towson.edu/counsel/>

Confidentiality Notice: This message may contain information that is confidential, privileged, proprietary, or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that you are not authorized to read, print, copy or disseminate this message, any part of it, or any attachments. If this message has been sent to you in error, please notify the sender by replying to this transmission, or by calling Office of the General Counsel at 410-704-4003.

From: Justin McLachlan

Hello Mr. Duenas,

Thank you for your response. I request that the University waive the fees pursuant to Md. Code Ann. General Provision § 4206(e). I am a journalist with over 20 years experience and a master's degree in journalism. These records will be used to inform the public of a newsworthy and pressing issue. “The PIA Manual suggests that "[a] waiver may be appropriate, for example, when a requester seeks information for a public purpose, rather than a narrow personal or commercial interest because a public purpose justifies the expenditure of public funds to comply with the request." PIA Manual, § 7-3. ” Short v. Frank Bishop, No. 0496, at *15 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Mar. 9, 2016).

Sincerely,
Justin McLachlan

From: Townson University

Good Morning Mr. McLachlan,

Thank you for your email. Enclosed please find the University’s response to your request for a fee waiver.

Sincerely,
Eduardo

[Towson University logo]<http://www.towson.edu/>
Eduardo Duenas
Paralegal | Office of the General Counsel

P: 410-704-4003
eduenas@towson.edu<mailto:eduenas@towson.edu> | www.towson.edu/counsel/<http://www.towson.edu/counsel/>

Confidentiality Notice: This message may contain information that is confidential, privileged, proprietary, or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that you are not authorized to read, print, copy or disseminate this message, any part of it, or any attachments. If this message has been sent to you in error, please notify the sender by replying to this transmission, or by calling Office of the General Counsel at 410-704-4003.

From: Justin McLachlan

Hello,

Thank you for your response. Considering the issue in 2016, a Maryland appeals court noted that “bald and conclusory" statements regarding denials of fee waivers "provides no insight whatsoever as to the actual considerations that motivated” the decision and that records custodians must "identify what relevant factors he or she considered” in denying a request for a fee wavier. Action Comm. for Transit, Inc. v. Town of Chevy Chase (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2016) 229 Md. App. 540, 563.
Clearly, the stated reason provides no information beyond a bald and conclusory statement. Would you please provide the relevant factors considered, as the court has noted is required?

That said, based on my reporting, I have information that I can, at this time, narrow my request in paragraph 1 to the year 2016. I reserve the right to seek all of the records requested at a later date. Can you please provide a new cost estimate and begin searching for and produce any responsive records under the two free hours you are required to provide, again, limiting your search to 2016.

Sincerely,
Justin McLachlan

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