Universities Claim Coronavirus Prevents Them from Complying with Records Requests

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Joseph Williams/Wikimedia Commons

Universities and colleges around the nation are claiming that the ongoing Chinese virus pandemic has prevented them from complying with requests for public records from journalists. Some universities have even refused to comply with a federal investigation into foreign influence on higher education.

According to a report by the College Fix, universities are using the Chinese virus pandemic as an excuse to delay responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Although the Chinese virus pandemic began nearly two months ago, reporters claim that universities and colleges have continued to use the pandemic as a justification for delays.

Frank LoMonte, the director of the University of Florida’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, said that many government agencies are using the pandemic to shut down records requests. “We are definitely seeing agencies across all levels of government taking full advantage of the COVID crisis to more-or-less shut down fulfillment of records requests,” LoMonte said.

The problem, LoMonte, points out, is that universities and colleges typically try to avoid compliance with information requests. Unfortunately, the Chinese virus pandemic has presented institutions with a fresh reason to delay document production.

“Frankly, there are a lot of agencies, including colleges and universities, that never wanted to answer [Freedom of Information Act] requests in the first place and that are opportunistically using the crisis to close the window to requester,” he added.

“It’s totally understandable that fulfilling requests, especially requests for paper documents that can’t be remotely retrieved from home, is going to take longer than it used to. That’s legitimate,” LoMonte finished. “What’s not legitimate is totally shutting down processing requests.”

Breitbart News reported last week that several universities and colleges have refused to comply with a federal investigation into the Chinese government’s influence on American higher education. Federal investigators believe that internal university documents will reveal undisclosed financial grants from the Chinese government.

Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more updates on this story.

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