University of Mary Washington releases audio recordings to student paper

VIRGINIA — The University of Mary Washington will releaseaudio files to the school’s student newspaper after twice denying openrecords requests for the information.

A copy of the audio files that document the fake “emergency”phone call made by the university’s President Judy Hample at a campussafety walk Sept. 30, 2009 were released to the university’s studentnewspaper the Bullet this afternoon, said Jessica Masulli, thenewspaper’s editor-in-chief.

“We were advised by the council (of university attorneys) that we hadmisinterpreted their earlier direction and so we released it,” said GeorgeFarrar, associate vice president of university relations.

The Bullet and Hartwood, Va.’s local newspaper the FreeLance-Star first filed open records requests for the files in January. Therequests — and an appeal made in Feb. 4 — were denied on the groundsthat they were part of a criminal investigation.

The Free Lance-Star received a copy of the audio files on Feb.25.

“We are excited, but [also] disappointed that [the university] gaveit to the Free Lance-Star first,” said Jessica Masulli, theBullet’s editor-in-chief.

Farrar said that there is only one copy of the audio file and a discussionabout which paper should receive the files first did not occur.