Cal Poly student battles state over 20 cents
October 22, 2012
An attempt by a reporter at Cal Poly’s Mustang Daily in San Luis Obispo to get a copy of an email from the California State University chancellor’s office was thwarted over 20 cents. [LATimes]
Sean McMinn was working on a story about professors and the university advocating in favor of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 tax plan, which might be a violation of the law. McMinn made a public records request for an email that CSU Chancellor Charles Reed sent university presidents.
University officials’ first response was to claim the email might not be a public record.
McMinn pushed on and university officials agreed to release the email for a 20 cent charge. Even though California’s public records law does not permit charging for electronically available and delivered emails, McMinn tried to give a credit card number only to find out they do not accept credit cards.
Working on deadline, McMinn then asked if he could have a friend bring a quarter to the Long Beach office, and was told they only accept checks.
“It’s strange, this is the university that we’re attending, their mission is to educate us and support research,” McMinn told the LA Times. “It’s a record we know is public and they know is public.”
As for McMinn’s story, he was able to get the email from another source and make his deadline.