The idea of open records is that the public should be able to obtain any government record, regardless of the reason for inquiry.
The Oklahoma Open Records Act literally states, “The purpose of this act is to ensure and facilitate the public’s right of access to and review of government records so they may efficiently and intelligently exercise their inherent political power.”
But what does this mean? While on the surface it may not seem like a troubling issue to most, the truth is that most people are uninformed about the Open Records law.
A few students who had been following the Open Records issue at OCCC said it has made them both more aware.
Student Rachel Rudebock said she believes public entities that refuse to turn over records need to rethink that position.
“There is probably a little bit more behind why places won’t give it up,” she said. “It seems like the bigger the deal they make it, the bigger the deal it becomes.”
Student Gabriela Apodaca said it casts suspicion.
“It seems like ultimately [the record keepers] don’t want any problems but it does make you think, what are they hiding?”
When asked whether she believed certain records should be open to the public, Apodaca responded, “There should definitely be a limit to what is provided but with limits established, people shouldn’t even have to ask for records.”
Rudebock agreed saying, “With limits in place, why are they so skeptical? Obviously there should be some restrictions as to what can be open to the public but since rules are established, the records should be open.
“There is no reason why they shouldn’t give the records to you.”
For more information about the Oklahoma Open Records Act, visit http:// www.foioklahoma.org/OpenRecords.pdf.
To contact John Gramlich, email firstname.lastname@example.org.