Right to Access Public Data
The Data Practices Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13) presumes that all government data are
public unless a state or federal law says the data are not public. Government data is a term that
means all recorded information a government entity has, including paper, email, CD-ROMs,
The Data Practices Act also provides that Saint Paul College must keep all government data in a
way that makes it easy for you, as a member of the public, to access public data. You have the
right to look at (inspect), free of charge, all public data that we keep. You also have the right to
get copies of public data. The Data Practices Act allows us to charge for copies. You have the
right to look at data, free of charge, before deciding to request copies.
How to Make a Data Request
To look at data or request copies of data that Saint Paul College keeps, make a written request.
Make your written request for data to the appropriate individual listed in the Data Practices
Contacts document on page 3. You may make your written request for data by mail or email
using the data request form on page 5. If you choose not to use the data request form, your
written request should include:
- that you, as a member of the public, are making a request for data under the Data Practices
Act, Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13;
- whether you would like to look at the data, get copies of the data, or both; and
- a clear description of the data you would like to inspect or have copied.
Saint Paul College cannot require you, as a member of the public, to identify yourself or explain
the reason for your data request. However, depending on how you want us to process your
request (if, for example, you want us to mail you copies of data), we may need some information
about you. If you choose not to give us any identifying information, we will provide you with
contact information so you may check on the status of your request. In addition, please keep in
mind that if we do not understand your request and have no way to contact you, we will not be
able to begin processing your request.
How We Respond to a Data Request
Upon receiving your written request, we will work to process it.
- If we do not have the data, we will notify you in writing as soon as reasonably possible.
- If we have the data, but the data are not public, we will notify you in writing as soon as
reasonably possible and state which specific law says the data are not public.
- If we have the data, and the data are public, we will respond to your request appropriately
and promptly, within a reasonable amount of time by doing one of the following:
- Arrange a date, time, and place to inspect data, for free, if your request is to look at
the data, or
- Provide you with copies of the data as soon as reasonably possible. You may
choose to pick up your copies, or we will mail or fax them to you. If you want us
to send you the copies, you will need to provide us with an address or fax number.
We will provide electronic copies (such as email or CD-ROM) upon request if we
keep the data in electronic format. Information about copy charges is on page 3.
We also will arrange for you to pre-pay for the copies.
If you do not understand some of the data (technical terminology, abbreviations, or acronyms),
please let us know. We will give you an explanation if you ask.
The Data Practices Act does not require us to create or collect new data in response to a data
request if we do not already have the data, or to provide data in a specific form or arrangement if
we do not keep the data in that form or arrangement. (For example, if the data you request are on
paper only, we are not required to create electronic documents to respond to your request.) If we
agree to create data in response to your request, we will work with you on the details of your
request, including cost and response time.
In addition, the Data Practices Act does not require us to answer questions that are not requests
Requests for Summary Data
Summary data are statistical records or reports that are prepared by removing all identifiers from
private or confidential data on individuals. The preparation of summary data is not a means to
gain access to private or confidential data. Saint Paul College will prepare summary data if you
make your request in writing and pay for the cost of creating the data. Upon receiving your
written request – you may use the data request form on page 5 - we will respond within ten
business days with the data or details of when the data will be ready and how much we will