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J298: Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information

This class will survey the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, state public records laws, access to state and federal court records (with emphasis on understanding and opposing the sealing for court records) and emphasize the making of requests and obtaining access. We’ll also study major court decisions granting and limiting access, learn access tricks to records for which instant access is the norm, as well as explore the basic Constitutional access to court records.

Students will learn how to hunt down government information and how vet whether archived, third party information, is accurate and trustworthy. They will develop a document state of mind.

Classes will be split between lectures and work on a group project. No outside work will be assigned other than readings and occasional access maters that must be done during business hours. No papers will be required.

Students wishing to take a five week mini version of the class will receive full class lectures for the first five weeks of the semester with no group project.

Proposed class project: Use all available information to crack and dissect secret Delaware controlled by Donald J. Trump.   This will include examining, say, local and state records involving a Trump building project. Those records will include land use records, construction permits, liquor licenses, tax abatements, tax records, court records, OSHA records, and many, many more.

Details

Instructor(s):  

Time:  M 6:00 - 9:00

Location:  108 North Gate (Lower News)

Class Number:  16907

Section:  12

Units:  3

Length:  15 weeks

Course Material Fee:  None

Enroll Limit:  

Restrictions & Prerequisites