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June 18, 2024

AG Confirms College of DuPage Violated FOIA – Directs Release of Records –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On March 20, 2015

College of DuPage (ECWd) –

The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor has determined the College of DuPage violated Section 9.5(f) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by not providing the student school ( email addresses.

This determination came after my initial complaint (here) where I requested the college email addresses of the staff, faculty, employees, and students. The College stated they would not provide the student school email addresses – keep in mind the difference between a school and private email address. The College of DuPage was provided an opportunity to respond, and I was provided an opportunity to respond to COD’s response (here).

This is once again another example of a public body spending tax payer money on a law firm that gives lousy advice all while blaming the requester for costing them money.  Had they just followed the law they would not have had any legal bills on this matter!

In this determination letter, the PAC’s opinion determined that:

1) Student School email addresses are “Public records” subject to FOIA.

2) “Student Directory Information” as specifically defined in Federal Law, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and includes student school email addresses as records intended for public release.

3) The Colleges failure to include student emails in their “Student Directory Information” does not prohibit their release under FERPA or any other law.

4) FOIA only allows withholding records “specifically” prohibited from release under state or federal law – and this is not the case with student school email addresses since there is no law, state, federal, or otherwise that specifically prohibits their release. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite, federal law specifically grants authority for their release to the public.

5) COD violated FOIA when it denied my request for the public records.

6) The AG’s PAC directed COD to disclose the with-held email addresses.

Read the Determination Letter, dated March 20, 2015, below:

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  • Peggy Bailey
    Posted at 17:27h, 20 March Reply

    This so reminds me of the attack against my husband for filing a PAC review on an OMA violation. One of the other council members has smeared his name all over the newspaper and has portrayed him as this person who ran up all of these legal fees. This council member stated in the paper that “Those expenses were directly caused by the actions of Alderman Bailey.” No they weren’t, they were caused because you and your committee violated the OMA. The AG found in favor of my husband. This is a right to every citizen out there to keep the local government honest in doing the business of the taxpayers. Keep on fighting for what is open and honest.

  • J Powell
    Posted at 08:50h, 21 March Reply

    So are you going to sell the student email addresses to spammers or just harass them yourself?

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 12:14h, 21 March Reply

      I will most likely send them articles and information about what the administration at COD is doing since they have been a captive audience to the propaganda distributed as “COD This Week” by Breuder.

      Or…I may do nothing with them.

  • Sick of it all....
    Posted at 11:30h, 23 March Reply

    J Powell… You don’t want the students to know the truth about where/ how their tuition money is being spent? Why would that be? If it’s being spent the way it should, and being done legally, what is the problem? Do you know of instances where the Watchdogs have sold lists of email addresses to spammers? Don’t insinuate without anything to back it up. That’s just grasping at straws……. bottom line, COD violated the FOIA request. And cost the school money in the process of trying to get away with it. Students and taxpayers need to know this so they can hopefully get it corrected.

  • Kirk Allen
    Posted at 12:08h, 23 March Reply

    We would NEVER sell e-mail addresses, PERIOD!

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