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Editorial: 'Post'-organized audit reveals disheartening results

The public records request audit found that nearly half of Ohio public university employees did not follow state law when it came to providing records.

A public records request audit coordinated by Post employees found that nearly half of Ohio public university employees who were asked for public records did not follow state law when it comes to providing records.

That’s not good.

In an effort coordinated by Post Director of Editorial Initiatives Will Drabold and reporter Danielle Keeton-Olsen, auditors evaluated 12 of Ohio’s 14 public universities, using Post reporters and other student journalists across the state.

The results they found were disheartening, but not altogether unsurprising. Accessing public records is something we struggle with on what seems like a weekly basis.

Public access is an important concept, and not one only journalists should value. Anybody has the right to see certain records, no matter if you are a reporter or involved in any journalistic endeavors. A common problem that surfaced during the Jan. 29 audit was that many employees asked auditors to identify themselves. In Ohio, there is no legal obligation for anyone requesting records to do so.

Public records are often the backbone of government accountability, showing how efficiently or inefficiently taxpayer dollars are spent.

This week is “Sunshine Week,” which according to its website, is a “national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.” Sunshine Week is in its 11th year and each time it rolls around, different media outlets take the opportunity to hold public records audits, reflect on problems with public records and detail the records they’ve been waiting on from officials.

We will be recognizing Sunshine Week with our audit results and hope that we will have better success in the future when it comes to accessing public records.

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For more information about the audit, visit

Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Post's executive editors: Editor-in-Chief Emma Ockerman, Managing Editor Rebekah Barnes and Digital Managing Editor Samuel Howard. Post editorials are independent of the publication's news coverage.

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