University of Central Arkansas officials have complied in part to an Arkansas Freedom of Information Act request from the Log Cabin Democrat concerning university-owned electronic communications devices by head football coach Clint Conque, who admitted Tuesday to an inappropriate relationship in the past.
The university provided the newspaper 1,500 pages of telephone records and a directory of cell phone calls.
However, citing they considered the information private, university officials did not provide e-mail records or documents from the state computer in Conque’s office.
"We believe any such communications do not constitute public records under the FOIA," states Tom Courtway, general counsel for the university, in a letter of response to the newspaper’s request. "We are not in possession of any text messages, and any e-mails on the subject are, in our opinion, private communications. Under the FOIA, the term ‘public records’ is defined to be those kept in any medium and that constitute a record of the performance or lack of performance of official functions."
Courtway continued, "Based upon our interpretation of opinions of the Arkansas Supreme Court, we believe any e-mails covered by your request are private e-mails and therefore, are not ‘public records’ since they do not constitute a record of performance or lack of performance of official functions."
In a letter Tuesday to UCA officials, Waylon Harris, Log Cabin editor, said, "Pursuant to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, the Log Cabin Democrat is requesting copies of any and all electronic communications by coach Clint Conque relating to his reported ‘inappropriate relationship.’ This request includes all electronic communications transferred through university-owned or subsidized devices: e-mail, text messages, instant communications, etc."
In admitting to relationship in the past that he said was inappropriate, Conque has apologized publicly for his actions and said his focus is now on restoring relationships with members of this family that include wife, Angele and three sons.
"I take sole and complete responsibility for my actions as my family and I consider the process of healing and rebuilding," Conque said in a statement released through the university’s sports information office.
Dr. Brad Teague, UCA’s athletic director, said Conque has been "honest and forthright" regarding the mistakes in judgment and will continue as football coach.
Both Teague and Dr. Allen Meadors, university president, issued statements of support for Conque and indicated the university intends to put the incident in the past and move on.
"The university is moving forward and we are focusing on the upcoming academic year and we look forward to a great and exciting football season," Meadors said.
On the advice of attorneys, Conque has declined to comment beyond his public statement.