Q: What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

A: The Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was enacted by the Michigan Legislature in 1976 to enable people to have information regarding the workings of government. As a public institution, Wayne State University is subject to FOIA and so individuals and organizations may inspect and/or receive copies of public records maintained by the University except to the extent that the records fall within a statutorily recognized exemption.

FOIA has limits.  It does not give the public the freedom to acquire valuable technological data which has been developed at public expense; student education records; records of open police investigations; records containing highly personal and sensitive information; or certain other records.

Q: What should I do if I receive a FOIA request for documents?

A: If you receive a request for documents, regardless of whether the request specifically cites FOIA, you should immediately forward that request to Shawn Wright. He is the University's FOIA coordinator and can be reached at 5700 Cass Avenue, Suite 3100, A/AB, Detroit, MI 48202, 577-4562 or by email at  He is responsible for processing all FOIA requests.  Do not delay in contacting him. The University has only five (5) business days after a request is received to respond to a request so it is important to notify him immediately. Do not begin searching for or copying documents before talking to him.

Q: What kind of information can be sought under FOIA?

A:  FOIA requires the production of records. It does not require that the University simply answer questions.

Q: Who handles FOIA requests?

A: Most FOIA requests are routine and are handled through the Director of Communication in the Department of Marketing and Communications. As a matter of convenience, the Purchasing Department responds to most requests for bidding records.

Q: Can FOIA requests be denied?

A: There are limited circumstances when FOIA requests may be denied. By University policy, only the Office of the General Counsel may deny a FOIA request. Denying a FOIA request without appropriate cause can subject the University to legal liability.

Q: Who should I contact if I have a question about FOIA?

A: You can direct questions regarding FOIA to Shawn Wright at 577-4562.

Q.  Does the University have FOIA Procedures and Guidelines?

A.  Yes.  They can be found here.

-- updated August, 2015