Public Records Requests

What are public records?

The Massachusetts General Laws define public records as “all books, papers, maps, photographs, recorded tapes, financial statements, statistical tabulations, or other documentary materials or data, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by any officer or employee” of any Massachusetts governmental entity, unless a specific exemption exists.

For more information about the public records law, please see the Secretary of State’s publication, A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law (PDF).

All records are retained in accordance with state records retention regulations. The university adheres to the Statewide Records Retention Schedule and the MA State Colleges Retention Schedule. For more information about record retention, please visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Public Records Division website.

How do I make a public records request?

While record requests can be made verbally (in person) or in writing to the Record Access Officer (RAO) Lisa Lescarbeau, written requests via email are preferred.

Record Access Officer

Lisa Lescarbeau
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
375 Church Street
North Adams, MA 01247 

Tips for making a request:

  • Be as specific as possible in your request, including the dates or timeframe for the documents you are requesting. This will help the RAO in fulfilling the request as quickly as possible.
  • Include the preferred format of the records in your request. Whenever feasible the RAO will provide a digital copy of the request in a searchable, machine readable format.
  • Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts must adhere to laws regarding the protection of personally identifiable information (PII). Consider excluding records that contain PII whenever possible.

Additional FAQs:

Is there a cost involved with my records request?

Under Massachusetts Public Records Law, MCLA may assess a fee to search and segregate requested records. The Records Access Officer will notify you and provide an estimate of any costs involved to complete the request.

When will my request be responded to?

The University responds to requests for public records as soon as is practical and within 10 business days of receipt of the request. In the case of voluminous requests, the Records Access Officer may request an extension (not to exceed 20 business days).