Dr. Stanley O. Gaines, Jr., Archive:
Date: 7/21/00
Type: Letter
To: Pomona College President
From: Dr. Gaines
Re: Requesting Access to Personnel Files
Att: Federal Privacy Act of 1974

July 21, 2000

Dr. Peter Stanley
Pomona College
FAX 909-621-8499

Dear Peter:

As you know, back in Fall 1998, I requested that the 1998-99 Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC), of which you were chair, give me a copy of the letter in which the FPC upheld the negative vote of Psychology, and dismissed the positive vote of Black Studies, during my 1998-99 review for tenure and promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor. In response, you claimed that you could not do so, citing a "confidentiality" clause in the 1998-99 Faculty Handbook. I now know that you were not telling me the truth. According to the Privacy Act of 1974, I was -- and still am -- entitled to inspect and copy the negative FPC letter. Moreover, Pomona College's "confidentiality" clause does not supersede federal law.

Pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974, I hereby request that the College arrange a day and time between now and next Friday (7/28/2000) that would be convenient for a witness and myself to inspect and copy the negative FPC letter. Also, I hereby request that the witness and myself be allowed to discuss the negative FPC letter at the time of inspection. Finally, I reserve the right to request that the College correct any and all inaccuracies or misrepresentations contained in the negative FPC letter. I have quoted the relevant portions of the Privacy Act of 1974 in an appendix to the present letter.

I am sending copies of this letter to various local and national news organizations, so that both my request and your response will be made public. Please feel free to contact me at home (1325 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA 91711; phone 909-624-1284; e-mail if you have any comments or questions. Thanks in advance for complying with my requests.

Stan Gaines

cc: Inland Valley News
Inland Valley Our Times
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Claremont Courier
Black Issues in Higher Education
Chronicle of Higher Education



Each agency that maintains a system of records shall:

(1) upon request by any individual to gain access to his record or to any information pertaining to him which is contained in the system, permit him and, upon his request, a person of his choosing to accompany him, to review the record and have a copy made of all or any portion thereof in a form comprehensible to him, except that the agency may require the individual to furnish a written statement authorizing discussion of that individual's record in the accompanying person's presence;

(2) permit the individual to request amendment of a record pertaining to him and:

(A) not later than 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays) after the date of receipt of such request, acknowledge in writing such receipt; and

(B) promptly, either:

(i) make any correction of any portion thereof which the individual believes is not accurate, relevant, timely, or complete; or

(ii) inform the individual of its refusal to amend the record in accordance with his request, the reason for the refusal, the procedures established by the agency for the individual to request a review of that refusal by the head of the agency, and the name and business address of that official;

(3) permit the individual who disagrees with the refusal of the agency to amend his record to request a review of such refusal, and not later than 30 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) from the date on which the individual requests such review, complete such review and make a final determination unless, for good cause shown, the head of the agency extends such 30-day period; and if, after his review, the reviewing official also refuses to amend the record in accordance with the request, permit the individual to file with the agency a concise statement setting forth the reasons for his disagreement with the refusal of the agency, and notify the individual of the provisions for judicial review of the reviewing official's determination under subsection (g)(1)(A) of this section;

(4) in any disclosure, containing information about which the individual has filed a statement of disagreement, occurring after the filing of the statement under paragraph (3) of this subsection, clearly note any portion of the record which is disputed and provide copies of the statement and, if the agency deems it appropriate, copies of a concise statement of reasons of the agency for not making the amendments requested, to persons or other agencies to whom the disputed record has been disclosed; and

(5) nothing in this section shall allow an individual access to any information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action or proceeding.