KCL supports plans to make universities exempt from FOI requests

Photo taken by Iian McLauchlan

KCL has welcomed plans for universities to be exempted from the Freedom of Information Act.

Freedom of Information request’s otherwise known as FOIs, allow the general public to request any information held by public authorities. Each year King’s receives over 300 FOI requests about a whole host of issues.

Outlining its position in its response to the governments HE green paper, King’s has said it welcomes the proposal to exempt universities requirement to respond to FOI requests as it “increasingly generate their income from tuition fee income, not classified as public funding”.

The sentiment has been echoed by the Russell Groups director of policy Dr Tim Bradshaw who wrote to FOI commission requesting universities to be exempt from FOI requests.

Second year Philosophy student and Chair of KCL Left Forum Andrew Warren said “universities are a public good and should be transparent and accountable to that public. FOI requests are one way of allowing our institutions to be transparent and democratic.”

Currently most university funding comes from government administered and subsidised student loans given to home students.

The KCL Fossil Free Campaign said: “Without the information gained from an FOI request in August we would have not been able to hold King’s to account on its Ethical Investment Policy. Now students and staff are central to the discussion as to what are permissible companies for King’s to invest in the face of climate change and social injustice.”

Labour says the proposal is part of a plan to stop the public from monitoring how the government spends public money.

Additional Reporting by Areeb Ullah.