Wichita State said these records “do not relate to the legitimate concern to the public.” You decide.


Madeline Deabler, Kylie Cameron, Chance Swaim

These heavily redacted emails were obtained through the Kansas Open Records Act. 928 out of 2,102 pages had redactions. 539 of the pages were completely black.

The Sunflower needs your help. We paid Wichita State $593 for a records request filed under the Kansas Open Records Act, and out of 2,102 emails received as part of the request, 539 pages were blacked out. 928 pages had some kind of redaction.

Even with the redactions, that’s a lot to sort through. David Moses, Wichita State’s attorney, said the emails we requested “do not relate to the legitimate concern to the public,” but we disagree. We think the information contained in those records should be available to the public. Therefore, we have included the records at the bottom of this story.

We’ve already covered some of the stories from the emails, but we need you to let us know what sticks out, what you want us to cover next, and what to prioritize when looking at these records. Please leave a comment at the bottom of the story or send an email to [email protected] with feedback on the records.

The request was for emails sent and received by President Bardo, Lou Heldman, Teri Hall, Anna Lanier, Tony Vizzini, Andy Schlapp, John Tomblin, Rick Muma, and Paige Hungate that included the words sunflower, chance, swaim, ymca, the y, flats, MWCB, Murfin, Barrett, Weigand, and Crossland.

When he fulfilled the request, WSU’s attorney David Moses left the following response:

“This overly broad, ambiguous and vague request, which includes a request for records that do not relate to the legitimate concern to the public, took staff more than 100 hours to complete, many more than were initially quoted, and has taken away time from other matters. Further, many of the emails pulled into this search were non-responsive to your request. Those emails have been removed from this response. An invoice for time spent in excess of the original estimated time, for which you have paid, will be sent to you in the near future.”

Asked to elaborate on “near future,” he did not respond to an email sent last month.

If WSU charges The Sunflower for the 100 hours for redacting the documents, it could cost The Sunflower $4,600 for the heavily redacted emails.


Here are the .pdf files of the emails from the request:

John Bardo, Wichita State University President, Wichita State Innovation Alliance Chair

John Tomblin, Vice President of Technology Transfer, Executive Director of NIAR, Wichita State Innovation Alliance President

Andy Schlapp, Executive Director of Government Relations, Board of Trustees, Wichita State Innovation Alliance and Operations

Lou Heldman, Vice President for Strategic Communications

Teri Hall, Vice President for Student Affairs

Tony Vizzini, Provost and Senior Vice President

Rick Muma, Interim Provost

Paige Hungate, Student Government Association President

Anna Lanier, Office of the President’s Director of Operations