Cal Poly to settle public records lawsuit

December 17, 2014
Bill Loving

Bill Loving


California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo has agreed to pay the costs in an agreement to resolve a public records request lawsuit brought by journalism professor and editor of CalCoastNew Bill Loving.

The agreement also calls for the university to send out yearly reminders to faculty and staff about complying with the California Public Records Act. Last month, shortly after Loving filed his lawsuit, the school turned over records about the university’s preparation in the event of an outbreak of an infectious disease on campus.

In September, reporters in one of Loving’s classes began to work on a project about illness, hygiene and preparedness. Reporters requested campus health center records citing the California Public Records Act.

After inquiring if the records request was made by a student, Health and Counseling Center Medical Director Karen Hord-Sandquist refused to provide records of its disease preparedness plans. In his lawsuit, Loving said state law requires that those records be open.

Director of Administrative Compliance Services Matthew Roberts said the day the lawsuit was filed, Nov. 14, his staff began working to gather the records.

“Please accept my apology for the confusion and delay in responding,” Roberts said in an email to Loving.

Loving named Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong and the university as defendants in his lawsuit. He asked for release of the records and for reimbursement for the cost of the lawsuit.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

If Karen Hord-Sandquist did not consult CalPoly’s legal counsel before making, and announcing, the decision, she made a huge mistake, one resulting in wasted resources, including funds, for CalPoly.

If this is the case, she deserves to be fired for making a poor decision AND not running it by legal counsel first.

However, I would be surprised if she did not consult with legal counsel. In that case, even as Director, she had little practical recourse than to do what legal counsel told her to do.

You have to love govt vs govt lawsuits. The taxpayer usually has no stake in the outcome but foots the bill for both sides.

“Karen Hord-Sandquist refused to provide records of its disease preparedness plans.” This person still holds her job? Still the “one in charge?” I am doubting anything more than “a stern talking to” was done. Oooo, there’s a note in her record. This person should be demoted and removed from the position. You had one task – medically direct the Health and Counseling Center, this requires knowledge and compliance with the overwhelming amount of crap that big government people thrive on, but you failed.

Now, the above might seem harsh, but if she failed on such a trivial thing as this, what other (more challenging) events await failure?

Director Karen Hord-Sandquist should pay ALL costs associated out of her own pocket period.

Another example of a state agency pissing away taxpayer dollars.

They knew they had to disclose the records by law, but instead they choose not to comply and now we have to pay for their above-the-law attitude.

Or perhaps Health and Counseling Center Medical Director Karen Hord-Sandquist had not completed the report as required when the original request was made,

Regardless of the reason for failure to comply with the request, the taxpayers are again left holding the bag for poor performance of one’s job.

Perhaps the stone-walling on the records release was a ruse to give them time to purge offensive/inappropriate/otherwise damaging content? Or to actually put together a policy which should have been done before?