M denies FOIA request for WD email

Submitted by Jon06 on October 23rd, 2014 at 5:20 PM

"Your request is denied because no responsive records exist."



Bando Calrissian

October 23rd, 2014 at 5:22 PM ^

I reiterate what I was saying all along: This was on WD to vet before he posted. He didn't. Good on you and the mods for doing his work for him, and now we seem to have found out the whole thing wasn't genuine. Too bad it went viral, got on the national radar, etc.

An Angelo's Addict

October 23rd, 2014 at 7:15 PM ^

Ya this whole situation has been very strange.  Did WD ever explain who sent him this email? I feel like his response was he didn't know who? How is that possible? When someone sends you an email they obviously have some connection to you and you should be able to vet the authenticity yourself. All the details from WD seemed very confusing


October 24th, 2014 at 11:54 AM ^

The thing that I am curious about is the data retention policy for the University.  Do we even know how long DB's emails are stored, outside of his archive file?  If the only place they are stored is on the archive file, he may well have deleted the emails.  Then, when the FOIA request came through, they would not have been there.

I'm not suggesting that this is the case, but I am opening the conversation to find out if there was some way to circumvent this request.

LSI Wolverine

October 23rd, 2014 at 8:02 PM ^

No, he made a decision to not censor a poster. He also followed up by submitting a FOIA request, which was the responsible thing to do. the fact that the request was put in was immediately made apparent to the community and indicated that the validity of the email was being verified. He also announced this on WTKA and the podcast when the email was discussed and made very clear to differentiate the front page from the forum. Not censoring an internet forum is not the same as running a story.


October 23rd, 2014 at 8:16 PM ^


I've gotten so many independent reports of these kind of responses from this email address that I believe that this actually transpired, so it's worth leaving up. WD links to one of them; I've gotten two or three more over the past couple years.

That was reply #815 from this thread, http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/dave-brandon-sends-snarky-email-back-alum?p…

Since his reply was a reply to the OP (WD) he is saying he is allowing the thread to remain up.  BTW, I believe this is the thread that LSA2000 said he had initially taken down, and which was subesequently resurrected.

LSI Wolverine

October 23rd, 2014 at 8:30 PM ^

Alright, I will concede that you may have a point. However, I still think that notifying us of the FOIA request and distinguishing between forum and front page on WTKA put at least a bit of distance between him and the "story". Maybe a better way to do it would have been to take the post down and post an explanation and the next steps in its place, but that amounts to more of an endorsement than posting that info in the OP and letting the board debate it. Regardless, I think this reflects more poorly on Olberman and the other sources that reported on the post as fact, which is not what Brian did.


October 24th, 2014 at 8:45 AM ^

It does not reflect on Olbermann because he stated that MgoBlog "reported that..."  That was slightly inacurrate, but likely due to sloppiness by some staff member.  I don't think viewers care about the difference between reported and a forum post, but I can understand why this blog does.  I suspect that, at this point, we are the only ones who care about the issue.  Thanks Brian for fleshing this out.  


October 24th, 2014 at 9:36 AM ^

That "better way of doing it" is standard procedure here, and one of the mods had already acted accordingly.

Deviating from an established procedure that's been followed consistently for years by putting the post back up is "running the story". I can't be the only one that sees it that way.

If this had involved anyone other than Brandon (OK, maybe Hoke too at this point) there'd be nothing left of this but a comment on the Moderators Action thread.


October 23rd, 2014 at 5:31 PM ^

So I've been working nonstop for the last 40 some hours other than sleeping, does someone want to hit me with the tl;dr version of what's going on here?


October 23rd, 2014 at 5:49 PM ^

This is different though.  If they're saying "no responsive records exist", and what the hell does that mean, but it sounds like someone asked for the email, they searched, and found nothing.  That would mean the email does not exist.

All of Brandon's emails are saved, I'm presuming.  If true and it wasn't found, it's fairily conclusive that the email was a lie.


October 23rd, 2014 at 6:33 PM ^

but email doesn't work that simply, and if just deleting it blocks it from FOIA queries then those are severely lacking. I'm going to assume Michigan uses an Exchange server because that's most likely but even if not it generally goes the same way. 

1. user deletes email from his inbox

2. it goes to deleted items. Most default policies will literally just leave those there, may auto delete at a set interval

3. if user or system deletes from deleted items folder, Microsoft Exchange defaults at 30 day retention during which it is immediately recoverable to the user locally still

4. Even after that it is still going to be on the server either locally or cloud for probably another month

5. If there was a mailbox backup at any point in that time period, which I seriously hope there was or Michigan is screwed in general, then the emails are still stored in backups. 


Seriously, it is really hard to permanently delete an email from a large organization's mail servers. Either the FOIA is really lacking (very possible), Michigan went through good efforts to delete it for realz, or it wasn't there.


October 23rd, 2014 at 9:25 PM ^

The only Exchange server running on campus should be within the health system. Everyone else moved to GMail. Make some assumptions about Gmail's backup and recover service next.

Regardless, this is all idiotic because it really doesn't matter if DB sent a stupid email or somebody faked a stupid email!