Colleges and schools are among the most impenetrably secretive government agencies, throwing up delays and roadblocks that impede journalists and citizen watchdogs alike. The Student Press Law Center works to improve the odds of getting timely access to the essential government records that informed, participatory citizens need.
In partnership with volunteers from the SPLC's nationwide Attorney Referral Network, the SPLC is offering a library of reference materials to assist practitioners in enforcing the public's right to know. These public-records templates can provide a go-by when preparing a complaint under state freedom-of-information laws. In the coming months, templates will be added to provide coverage of all 50 states. Consulting these guides is no substitute for consulting licensed legal counsel in your state, but can expedite and simplify the process of bringing a civil action where government agencies delay, redact or withhold public records without a well-founded legal justification.
If you are a student journalist or journalism educator in need of advice from an attorney licensed in your state, you can request a referral to volunteer counsel through the SPLC's pro-bono network here.
To get started, select your state from the list.