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UNIVERSITY of WISCONSIN University Relations & UWMILWAUKEE Communications ——— Office of Public Records (Chapman Hall Room 180B P.O, Box 413 Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413 414 229-2849 phone 414 229-6261 fax March 22, 2019 VIA EMAIL: Dazia Cummings Media Milwaukee Dear Ms. Cummings: On March 4, 2019, you requested “any and all complaints, formal and/or informal, made and/or filed against Anthony Axenabor since his time of hire at UWI ... | would also like his most recent contract at UWM and his CV.” On March 5, 2019, you also asked for “the EDS and provost decision if they exist.” Today, | am sending Dr. Azenabor’s employment contracts and his CV. When deciding whether to release these records to you, | conducted the “balancing test” required under the Wisconsin, Public Records Law (WPRL). Impl the “test” is a state public policy mandate that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the actions of government employees and providing such is an essential function of government. In other words, the law presumes complete public access to such information. Access may be denied only if there is a specific provision of the law prohibiting disclosure or if the facts are such that public policy interests favoring nondisclosure outweigh public policy interests favoring disclosure, notwithstanding the above-mentioned strong presumption. I determined the employment contracts and CV are subject to release, but redacted or withheld portions of the records for the following reasons: FERPA UWM has redacted information in Dr. Azenabor’s CV pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education and prohibits the release of education records and/or any personally identifiable information from a student’s education record without prior written permission from the student. FERPA defines education records as those records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by the educational agency of institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. FERPA further defines “personally identifiable information” of a student consists beyond the name and includes “..A personal identifier, such as the student's social security number, student number, or biometric record....other indirect identifiers...other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or information requested by a person who the educational agency or institution reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates.” Accordingly, the presumption of public access to portions of these records is defeated because FERPA qualifies under the “otherwise provided by law” exception to the public records law contained in Wis. Stat. § 19.36(1). | redacted these records to remove personally identifiable information of students. Even if FERPA does not definitely prohibit the release of this information, the university has redacted this information pursuant to the balancing test inherent in Wisconsin's public records law. The university determined that the public interest in releasing this information is outweighed by the public interest in withholding it. The university considered that FERPA conditions the availability of federal educational funds on the university's nondisclosure of personally identifiable information related to students, and the strong public policy favoring the privacy of student records expressed therein. The university believes that these facts support the strong public interest in keeping private student educational records and any personally identifiable information of students contained in this release. Personal contact information UWM has redacted personal contact information in one of Dr. Azenabor’s employment contracts pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 19.36(10)(a), and/or the balancing test inherent in the Wisconsin public records law. With regard to redactions made pursuant to the balancing test, | concluded that the public interest in this information is outweighed by other public interests favoring the protection of such information. While the public has an interest in the conduct of government business and the identity of those persons communicating with the university, there is not a similar interest in the personal contact information of those individuals whe Unrelated to the substantive conduct of that business. Given the negligible public interest in this information, and mindful of the fact that when subject to public release, personal contact information may be used to harass and or commit identity theft, this information has been withheld, Formal Complaints and EDS Decision/Provost Deci Part of your request asked for formal complaints made and/or filed against Dr. Azenabor. In an effort to read your request in a way that does not render it overbroad or unable to be fulfilled, | checked with UW-Milwaukee's Office of Equity and Diversity Services (EDS) and with UW- Milwaukee's Police Department for formal complaints made and/or filed against Dr. Azenabor. Both EDS and the Police Department have responsive records, however, | am withholding them for the following reasons: The responsive records from the Police Department relate to an ongoing investigation and | am withholding them pursuant to the balancing test. “[T]here is a strong public interest in investigating and prosecuting criminal activity, and when the release of a police record would interfere with an on-going prosecution or investigation, the general presumption of openness will likely be overcome.” Linzmeyer v. Forcey, 2002 WI 84, {| 30, 254 Wis.2d 306, 646 N.W.2d 811. Releasing the records at this time would interfere with the ongoing investigation and prosecutorial review. In applying the balancing test, | determined that the strong public interest in effectively investigating criminal activity, and in protecting the integrity of an ongoing investigation, outweigh any public interest in disclosing the requested records at this time. 1am withholding responsive records from EDS because they relate to a current investigation of possible misconduct connected with employment by an employee and remain prior to the final university disposition of the investigation. As such, the records are precluded from release under Wis. Stat. §19.36(10)(b). For the same reason, | am withholding the EDS and Provost decisions Informal Complaints You also asked for informal complaints made and/or filed against Dr. Azenabor since his time of hire. Dr. Azenabor has been a faculty member at UWM since the summer of 2001 - approximately 18 years. UWM does not maintain a central repository of complaints on campus. Your request for informal complaints could encompass a myriad of items, for example, grade appeals, or a negative comment in a course evaluation 18 years ago. To that end, could you kindly clarify your request? For example, are there specific types of complaints you are looking for? Is there a specific time frame? Received by particular departments or individuals? Any clarification you could provide to narrow the extensive scope of your initial request for informal complaints would help me provide you with the records you are seeking. By redacting and withholding information, | am denying aspects of your request. Therefore, | am required to inform you that my determination is subject to mandamus (court review) under Wis. Stat. § 19.37(1)(a) or upon application to the attorney general or district attorney under §19.37(I)(b). There are no costs associated with your request.