A disagreement over public records requests between the chairman of the journalism department at the University of New Mexico and the editor of the school’s independent student newspaper is making headlines.
The dispute stems from a request for university records by Justin Garcia, a 24-year-old senior from Edgewood and editor-in-chief of the newspaper, the Daily Lobo. In October, Garcia sought five years’ worth of documents associated with the Communication and Journalism Department’s student grievance procedure, citing the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act, which requires government agencies to provide public access to emails, police reports, court documents and other records.
Garcia received redacted documents in response to his request. Later in the semester, Garcia filed a new request for emails from department Chairman David Weiss, in which Weiss said he feels disturbed by what he see as the Daily Lobo’s misuse and abuse of the public records law.