Florida law defines "public records" as: all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software or other material, regardless of physical form, or characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.
Are there any exemptions from Public Records?
State and federal laws exempt certain types of public records, or portions thereof, from disclosure under the public records law. Exemptions that frequently apply to Florida SouthWestern State College records include but are not limited to:
Education records under FERPA
Social Security Numbers
Disciplinary records while discipline is in progress
Personal information regarding law enforcement officers or their families
Academic evaluations of employees performance
Records of the FSW Foundation and other direct-support organizations of the College
Documents that are public records but contain exempt information will be produced after removing the exempt information, unless the exempt information in the document is so extensive that removal is not feasible. The determination of which documents or information is exempt from the public records law will be made by Florida SouthWestern State College Office of General Counsel.
Who can Request a Public Record?
Anyone! The requestor is not required to fill out any forms, provide identification or state their name or other identifying information to request or review records.
How do I request a Public Record?
Public records requests may be made in person, in writing, or by phone. The person who is requesting the information does not need to give a reason or "legitimate need" to view the records.
Emailing the Communications and Public Information Officer at
Florida SouthWestern State College, 8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers, FL 33919
What is the response time for a public record request?
The College must respond to a public records request within a reasonable period of time after receiving the request.
What constitutes a reasonable period of time depends upon the circumstances surrounding the request, including the nature of the request, the size of the request, the likely quantity of records to be produced, whether extensive use of information technology resources or clerical services are required, and the timing of the request (i.e., whether holidays intervene).
What is not required when responding to a Public Records Request?
There is no requirement under Florida Law to do any of the following when responding to a request:
Create a new record
Provide the record in the format requested
Meet the requestor’s timetable
Provide information in the records
Explain the records
Is there a fee for Public Records Requests?
If copies are made for the requestor there is a charge of:
$0.15 per page
$0.20 per double-sided copies
$1.00 for certified copies
In addition to the duplications cost above, if retrieving or copying the public records requires extensive use of information technology resources or clerical and/or supervisory assistance, the College will assess a reasonable service charge based on the college's actual incurred costs. Reimbursement for these charges may be made to the department or unit that incurred the charge. An estimate of the charges will be given to the requestor prior to responding to the request. All charges will be collected before producing the requested documents. The College follows the ‘Extensive Request’ definition outlined in Section 119.07(4) (d), Florida Statute.
What should I do if I receive a Public Records Request?
If you have a requestor walk in and request records, have them take a seat and contact your supervisor to assist with determining if the records are exempt. If still unsure, contact the General Counsel Office at (239) 432-7313 for additional assistance.
If you receive a call or an e-mail request for records, please forward to . The General Counsel’s Office will respond and process the request on your behalf.