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GVSU FOIA Office

Grand Valley State University is a public body and therefore must comply with the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The FOIA Office, housed within the Division of Legal, Compliance and Risk Management, is responsible for coordinating responses to FOIA requests sent to the University. Under FOIA, any individual other than a federal, state or county prisoner has the right to inspect and/or receive copies of public records maintained by the University.  

Consistent with the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, Public Act 442 of 1976, the information contained on this website is intended to assist the public with understanding University FOIA policy, procedures and how to make a request. The University's FOIA Policy is listed with other policies in the Grand Valley Manual.


FOIA Policy Summary
Section 1 of the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA” or “the statute”) provides, "It is the public policy of this state that all persons, except those persons incarcerated in state or local correctional facilities, are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and public employees, consistent with this act.  The people shall be informed so that they may fully participate in the democratic process.” To that end, all people, excluding prisoners, are allowed to file FOIA requests with a Grand Valley State University (the “University”).  A requester must simply file a request in writing with the University’s FOIA Coordinator, and the University will begin processing his or her request.

The University, in its initial response, will do one of the following within the timeframe permitted by the statute: grant the request, partially grant the request, deny the request, inform the requester that additional time is needed, require a fee deposit prior to further processing, or inform the requester that the requested record has not been sufficiently described. If a request is denied or partially denied, the University will explain why the documents have not been released and inform the requester of his or her challenge and appeal options. 

A fee deposit will be required when processing a request that will require significant University employee time and resources.  The University will notify the requester of the estimated cost and provide a non-binding, best efforts estimate of the time it will take to complete the processing of the request.  It is possible that after further processing of the request, the University will determine that the cost of processing the request is significantly less or greater than the estimated cost.  If that is the case, the University will notify the requester to allow the requester to determine whether and how he or she wants to proceed with the request. 

After the University receives a required deposit, it will make every effort to provide the requested documents within the time estimate provided.  Requesters must understand, however, that at any given time, the University is processing multiple requests and cannot devote all of its time to one particular request. 

If a requester feels that he or she was wrongly denied responsive documents, he or she may appeal to the Head of the Public Body, which for the purposes of these Procedures and Guidelines is the Vice President and General Counsel, or file a civil action.  If a requester believes that the University has required a fee that exceeds the amount permitted under the Procedures and Guidelines, he or she may file a civil action.  Requesters are also always free to contact the FOIA Coordinator at 616-331-2067 or foia@gvsu.edu with any questions about the processing of their requests.

Click here to read the entire FOIA Policy, including the Summary, Procedures and Guidelines