IPRA Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding the Inspection of Public Records.

What is the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA)?

IPRA stands for the Inspection of Public Records Act, which is a state act in New Mexico that was created in 1978, NMSA 1978.  The purpose of the act is to allow inspection of records that are normally maintained by public entities in order to provide transparency and insight into the operations and functions of the departments and agencies that fall within the jurisdiction of IPRA.  NMSA 1978 § 14-2-5, defines the act by stating “Recognizing that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, the intent of the legislature in enacting the Inspection of Public Records Act is to ensure, and it is declared to be the public policy of this state, that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of public officers and employees. It is the further intent of the legislature, and it is declared to be the public policy of this state, that to provide persons with such information is an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of public officers and employees”.

Who can make a request for public records?

Any "person" can request public records. The request can be made by phone, letter or electronically.  UNM provides an efficient electronic method for requesters to utilize in requesting public records and requests that all requestors utlilize the IPRA portal via https://unmipra.nextrequest.com. The requester cannot be required to explain why the public records are being requested. Often, however, a voluntary discussion with the Custodian about the requester’s purpose or interest in seeking certain information can aid the Custodian in locating and producing responsive records. While an individual is not required to submit a request in writing, the University encourages the requestor to submit a written request in order to minimize any confusion regarding the request.  The deadlines and procedures set forth in the law and applicable to written requests do not apply to oral requests.  

What is a "public record"?

Except those records that are identified as exempt under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, or the release of which is otherwise prohibited by law, IPRA describes "public records" as follows:

"all documents, papers, letters, books, maps, tapes, photographs, recordings and other materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that are used, created, received, maintained or held by or on behalf of any public body and relate to public business, whether or not the records are required by law to be created or maintained."  NMSA Section 14-2-6(G)

What is a "redaction"?

Redaction is the act of removing text or images from any publication.

  • “Exempt and nonexempt [information] ... shall be separated by the custodian prior to inspection, and the nonexempt information shall be made available for inspection.” NMSA 1978, § 14-2-9A
  • The presence of confidential information does not make a document exempt from production
  • Redactions must be made narrowly
  • Blanket denials are not permitted, in most cases
How can an individual make a public records request to the University?

NMSA § 14-2-8 Procedure for Requesting Records
"Any person wishing to inspect public records may submit an oral or written request to the custodian. However, the procedures set forth in this section shall be in response to a written request. The failure to respond to an oral request shall not subject the custodian to any penalty."

Public record requests can be made directly to the University's Custodian of Public Records by mail, email or phone during normal business hours or at https://unmipra.nextrequest.com

Custodian of Public Records
MSC05 3440
Scholes Hall Room 208
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
505 277-5035

What is the University's response time?

The Custodian will acknowledge the request within three (3) business days, and will strive to respond no later than fifteen (15) calendar days after receiving the request. If the Custodian determines that a written request is excessively burdensome or broad, an additional reasonable period of time shall be allowed to comply with the request. The Custodian shall provide written notification to the requester within fifteen (15) calendar days of the receipt of the request that additional time will be needed.

Can an individual inspect a public record in person?

Yes. An individual may inspect records at a mutually convenient time arranged during the Custodian's business hours. However, if the person also would like copies of records and such records cannot be readily copied due to the volume of the records, the requestor may return at a later date to collect copies or make arrangements for copies to be mailed to the requestor.

Is there a fee for gathering information to fulfill the request?

As permitted by IPRA, the University will normally charge for copying records in accordance with the fee schedule determined by statute. The University of New Mexico's Custodian of Public Records is currently assessing the fee structure related to the processing of requests made under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act ("IPRA") and the production of electronic public records.  Accordingly, for requests made during this time, the Custodian of Public Records will be suspending the assessment of fees associated with the processing and production of electronic public records produced via email pursuant to an IPRA request.  The University of New Mexico reserves the right to charge for the production of non-electronic records during this time. 

Fee Schedule:

Effective July 1, 2016, the University of New Mexico, through its Records Custodian, will charge a fee for copies of records provided in response to public records requests for each page in excess of 20 pages. UNM’s fees are reasonable and consistent with the requirements of the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA), § 14-2-1 et seq. and the New Mexico Attorney General’s IPRA Compliance Guide.

Hard Copies

The fees for hard copies after the first 20 pages are:

FeesSize of Records
35¢ per page*8 1/2" by 11"
$1.00 per page8 1/2" by 14"
$1.00 per page11" by 17" and larger

*Two-sided copies count as two pages

Electronic Records

Charges for electronic records provided to the requestor on a computer disk, thumb drive or other storage device will be the cost of the device (35¢ for a computer disk; $2.75 for audio tapes, and $6.75 for a thumb drive).

Transmission Fees

Any postage or other cost associated with transmission of copies will be charged to the requestor.
In addition to the fees noted above, requestors are charged the actual costs of transmitting the records by mail ($1.00 per page plus actual postage) air express (actual cost), or facsimile (35¢ per page).

Advance Payment Required Before Copies Are Provided

UNM requires advance payment of fees, either by cash or credit card, before copies are provided to the requestor. Cash payments must be made at the UNM Cashier’s Office located in the Perovich Business Center, Suite 1100, on the southwest corner of Lomas and University Boulevards. Credit card payments can be made online.

Inspection of Records at UNM

Requestors may arrange for the inspection of records at the UNM campus at no charge. However, if requestors wish to receive copies of public records, the fee schedule set forth above will apply.

What are examples of privileged or confidential records that are exempt from public inspection?

Every person, whether they are a UNM student, staff, or faculty member, or a member of the general community, have the right to inspect records that are normally maintained by the University, with a few exceptions:

  • Records pertaining to physical or mental examinations and medical treatment of persons confined to
    any institution – NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1-A(1)
  • Letters of reference concerning employment, licensing or permits – NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1-A(2)
  • Letters or memorandums which are matters of opinion in personnel files or students’ cumulative files –
    NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1-A(3)
  • Law enforcement records that reveal confidential sources, methods, information or individuals
    accused but not charged with crimes – NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1-A(4)
  • Trade secrets, attorney-client privileged information and long-range or strategic business plans of
    public hospitals discussed in a properly closed meeting – NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1-A(6)
  • Information that could reveal specific vulnerabilities, risk assessments or tactical emergency security
    procedures – NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1-A(7)
  • Educational Records or anything that specifically identifies an individual as a student with the University of New Mexico- NMSA 1978, § 14-2-1(H) (“as otherwise provided by law”), specifically, 34
    C.F.R. § 99.3 of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (FERPA)
  • As otherwise provided by law – NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1-A(8)

The presence of other confidential information may exist within the contents of a public record, such as protected personal identifier information (PII), protected health information (PHI), student educational records (FERPA), or various other legally protected records or identifiers.  It is the responsibility of the Office of the Custodian of Public Records to apply the appropriate redactions to public records prior to their release.

The following are examples of what can be produced:
  • License Plate Numbers
  • VIN Numbers
  • Court Settlements
  • UNM Email Addresses/Phone Numbers
  • Salary Information
  • Police Reports (unless they identify parties involved in “criminal sexual penetration or aggravated stalking” where a respondent has not yet been charged with the crime, pursuant to NMSA 1978, § 14-2-1(A)(8))
  • Autopsies if Appropriate Medical Intervention and Personally Identifying Information is Redacted
  • Excessively Broad Requests Can Be Produced on a Rolling Basis pursuant to NMSA 1978 § 14-2-10

If you are looking to request your own medical records from UNM, please do so by going to UNM Hospital's Patient Records Request page.  If you're looking to request your transcripts from UNM, please do so by going to UNM Registar's Office Transcript Request page.

What if a University office or department receives a public records request?

The University office or department should immediately contact the University's Custodian of Public Records to coordinate a response and should send the request to the Custodian as soon as practicable. 

Is the University required to create documents to comply with a request?

No. It is the University's obligation to gather and copy existing public records. The University is not obligated to create records in order to respond to a request. 

Does UNM provide employees with notice of records requests?

If a request is ever made about a specific employee at UNM, the IPRA Office will provide that employee with an “Employee Notice”.  The Employee Notice provides insight into the details of the request are so that employees are made aware of any requests made for records specific to them as an employee.  Any documents that are maintained by UNM as standard business practice can be considered public records; this includes all written communication by UNM employees.  All written communication can include text messages and emails if pertaining to public business matters.  If you are ever subjected to an IPRA request, please provide the IPRA Office with all responsive documents that are in your possession.

Please provide the IPRA Office with all responsive documents in your possession that are pertinent to the details of your request.  The IPRA Office will review all documents received to determine exemptions to documents that are provided.  The IPRA Office will conduct an analysis and redact or withhold records depending on whether exemptions are applicable to them.  Do not make your own redactions to the records, as the Custodian of Public Records must review and approve of all redactions made to records prior to their production.  Just because a record is sent to the Office of the Custodian of Public Records, it does not mean that the record will be released, if the documents contain privileged information that is specifically outlined in the statutes of IPRA, those areas with be appropriately redacted prior to production.

For Transcript Inquires please visit http://registrar.unm.edu



Custodian of Public Records

MSC05 3440
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM87131-0001

Physical Location:
Scholes Hall
Room 208
Phone: (505) 277-5035