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USC agrees to fulfill Freedom of Information Act requests after lawsuit

After being sued for not meeting state-mandated deadlines for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, USC has said it will resolve issues with responding to requests by June 15, according to The State.

Frank Heindel, who sued the university after not receiving documents in the required time period from two FOIA requests, will drop his lawsuit because the university agreed to address problems with its process of responding to requests, according to The State.

FOIA gives people access to public documents. Requests can be sent to public officials and institutions for the documents. According to the South Carolina Press Association, the institution or official has 10 business days to respond about whether the request will be granted and the associated cost. They then have 30 business days to provide the documents requested. 

The university has demonstrated a pattern of not responding to FOIA requests. The State published an article in August listing requests ignored by university communications. 

The Daily Gamecock requested documents related to Student Health Services on Sep. 4, 2018. The university did not respond till Oct. 19, long after the 10 business days allotted for a response. The documents were provided on Nov. 2, 2018, nearly two months after the original request was made. 

The Daily Gamecock also requested information regarding organization conduct reports on Oct. 26, 2018. The university responded on Nov. 19, 2018, 16 business days after the request. No documents have been provided as of April 9, 2019. 

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