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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Ind. Gov't. - "Experts say Indiana’s private university police transparency law has no teeth"

From Student Press Law Center staff writer James Hoyt, this long story from March 3rd that begins:

INDIANA—Margaret Hynds, editor in chief of the Notre Dame Observer, noticed last November that HB 1019, a law former Indiana governor Mike Pence signed, classified private university police departments as public agencies.

So, naturally, the student newspaper requested case documents from the University of Notre Dame Security Police. Notre Dame’s general counsel denied the requests. The Observer filed a complaint with a higher power, Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt. Britt sided with Notre Dame, saying HB 1019’s language was in error and a bill to correct it would soon pass.

A law recently enrolled by the Indiana General Assembly, House Enrolled Act 1022, ostensibly requires private university police departments to release case documents to the public if requested. But experts say the law will still hold private departments to different standards than public ones.

“It really doesn’t make private university police departments generate or retain any kind of documentation they wouldn’t have had to before,” said Britt. Britt calls the law “transparency in name only” but asserts his responsibility to uphold it.

“Nothing’s really changed for us,” Hynds said.

The law comes in the wake of the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision that private university police don’t need to provide records to the public from ESPN’s lawsuit against the University of Notre Dame.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 7, 2017 09:12 AM
Posted to Indiana Government