Q: Who can submit a request for public records? 

A: Virginia’s FOIA provides that public records shall be open to citizens of the Commonwealth, representative of newspapers and magazines with circulation in the Commonwealth, and representatives of radio and television stations broadcasting in or into the Commonwealth. The JMU FOIA Officer may ask for a valid Virginia address and proof of your Virginia residency.

 Q: How do I request a public record?

A: You can use this web portal to submit a public request to James Madison University, by clicking on the link “make a request.” You may also make a request by mail (JMU FOIA Officer MSC 3608, James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA 22807), email (foia@jmu.edu), or over the phone (540-568-7487).

Q: What information should I include in my FOIA request?

A: A FOIA request must ask for existing records or documents.  FOIA permits one to inspect or receive copies of existing records.  FOIA does not require the creation of records that do not exist, and it does not require the production of general information that is not a part of records or documents.     

A FOIA request must identify records with "reasonable specificity."  It does not refer to or limit the volume or number of records that you are requesting; instead, it requires enough detail to be provided so that James Madison University can identify and locate the records being sought. 

Q: When will I receive a response to my request? 

A: Virginia’s FOIA allows for a 5-business day response. Most requests are completed within this timeframe. If additional time is needed, you will be contacted. 

Q: How do I access my request once I have submitted it?

A: Once your request is submitted, Next Request will send a message to the email you provided indicating your request has been received. To access your request, you can follow the link provided in the email and login to your request or login through the Next Request main page at wsu.nextrequest.com and select your request from the list.

Q: What fees are involved in making a request for public records? 

A: Under Virginia’s FOIA, a public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for requested records.

If the estimated cost to respond exceeds $200, James Madison University may require a deposit equal to the full amount of the estimate prior to completing your request.  

Q: Who should I contact if I have any questions?

A: Should you have questions about your request or about Next Request, please call the JMU FOIA Officer at 540-568-7487 or email foia@jmu.edu.  

Q: Is the University permitted to withhold some records?

A: There are numerous exceptions contained in Virginia’s FOIA. Some of the most common exceptions are: student scholastic records, employee personnel records, proprietary faculty research, records subject to attorney-client privilege, and records relating to the negotiation and aware of a contract prior to a contract being awarded.