Southeast Missouri State University

Missouri Sunshine Law Open Records Requests

Southeast Missouri State University is a public institution subject to the state of Missouri’s Sunshine Law (ago.mo.gov/sunshinelaw). This document explains the Sunshine Law and outlines the procedures for making an open records request.

Public Records

Unless otherwise provided by law, public records of the University are to be open and available to the public for inspection and copying. The term “public record” includes records created or maintained by private contractors under an agreement with the University or on behalf of the University. § 610.010, RSMo.

The University may charge up to 10 cents per page for standard copies and the actual cost of the copy for larger or specialized documents (such as maps, photos and graphics). The University may also charge a reasonable fee for the time necessary to search for and copy public records. Research time may be charged at the actual cost incurred to locate the requested records. Copying time shall not exceed the average hourly rate of pay for clerical staff of the University. The University may reduce or waive costs when it determines the request is made in the public interest and is not made for commercial purposes. § 610.026, RSMo.

All requests for information under the Sunshine Law should be directed to the designated custodian of records. Brady L. Barke, Senior Associate to the President and Board of Regents’ Secretary, serves as the University’s designated custodian of records. The Sunshine Law requires that each request for access to a public record be acted on no later than the end of the third business day following the date the request is received by the custodian. If access is denied, the custodian must explain in writing and must include why access is denied, including the statute that authorizes the denial. § 610.023, RSMo.

If only part of a record may be closed to review, the rest of the record must be made available. The law also requires that if a request is made in a particular format, the custodian shall provide the records in that format if it is available. § 610.024, RSMo.

Meeting Notices

At least 24 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) before a public Board of Regents meeting, the University must prominently post a notice of the meeting in the building in which the Office of the President is located. The notice must include:

  • Time of meeting;
  • Date of meeting;
  • Place of meeting;
  • Tentative agenda of an open meeting; and
  • Whether the meeting is open or closed.

If the University’s Board of Regents intends to hold a meeting by conference call or other electronic means, the notice must specify the location where the public may observe and attend that meeting. If the Board meets via Internet or other computer link, it shall place a notice on its Web site in addition to posting the notice in the building.

If exceptional circumstances prevent the University from posting notice 24 hours in advance or prevent the meeting from being held at a convenient time or in a place reasonably accessible to the public, the reasons should be stated in the meeting’s minutes. § 610.020, RSMo.

Closed Meetings

The University’s Board of Regents is permitted, but not required, to close its meetings, records and votes when they relate to certain issues. Though construed narrowly, matters that may be closed include:

  • Legal actions, causes of action or litigation (except that votes, minutes and settlement agreements must be opened to the public on final disposition, unless ordered closed by a court).
  • Leasing, purchase or sale of real estate where public knowledge might adversely affect the amount paid in the transaction.
  • Hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting a particular employee.
  • Welfare cases of identifiable individuals.
  • Software codes for electronic data processing.
  • Individually identifiable personnel records.
  • Records related to existing or proposed security systems.
  • Records that are protected from disclosure by other laws.

When the Board of Regents votes to meet in closed session, members must cite in open session the specific statute and subsection allowing closure. Once in closed session, the Board may not discuss any matter beyond the scope of the stated reason for the closed session. Board of Regents must close only that portion of the facility necessary for its members to conduct the closed meeting, allowing space for the public to remain and attend any later open session. §§ 610.021, 610.022 RSMo.

Open Records Requests

When making a request for records, please indicate the request is being made under the Missouri Sunshine Law, Chapter 610, Revised Statutes of Missouri. The request may be sent via email to bbarke@semo.edu or regular mail to the following address:

Brady L. Barke
Southeast Missouri State University
One University Plaza, MS 3300
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

When making the request, please describe the records as specifically as possible. If asking for records that cover only a particular period (such as a particular semester or a specific month), please identify that time period. If you know the subject matter of the records, but do not have any additional information, indicate that you are requesting all records that relate to the subject matter. Be specific, including dates, if possible.

Please indicate whether you would like to receive the information via hard copy or electronically. If requesting to receive the information electronically, please specify the format (e.g., .pdf, .zip) in which you would like to receive the documents.

As allowed by Missouri Sunshine Law, the University charges ten cents per page for copied materials, as well as applicable fees for the time necessary to research and copy public records. The University will notify the requestor of the fees associated with processing the request. The request will be processed once payment has been received. Please include the appropriate mailing address if requesting that hard copies be provided.

If you believe your request serves the public interest, and is not wholly for a personal or commercial interest, you may ask that the fees be waived. If making such a request, please include how the information will be used and why that use is in the public interest.

If portions of the requested records are closed, the University will segregate the closed portions and provide the requestor with the remainder of the records.

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