A Court of Claims judge threw out a lawsuit against ESPN, saying Michigan State University can’t sue reporters for requesting records under the Freedom of Information Act.
Michigan State University filed a lawsuit against ESPN after a reporter filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the university police department for reports related to sexual assault allegations.
The Indiana Supreme Court this week decided the police department at the University of Notre Dame is not a government body and not subject to open records requests.
The bill would have superseded a recent Indiana Court of Appeals ruling that said state private universities' police departments are subject to public records law.
The state appellate court ruled that Notre Dame's police force is a public agency subject to the public records law, but a bill heading to the governor's desk would shield private universities from releasing the same amount of records as public institutions.
An appellate court judge has ordered Michigan State University to release the names of football and men's basketball players when they are identified as suspects in police reports that ESPN requested.
Indiana's attorney general has thrown the state's influential weight behind a lawsuit seeking access to police records at Notre Dame, whose attorneys claim the private institution is exempt from the state public-records act. Sports network ESPN is trying to make Indiana the third state this year to declare private-college police reports open for public inspection.
At the University of Oregon, Vanderbilt University and the University of Montana, FERPA was cited to withhold records and information related to sexual assault allegations. FERPA was even cited at Florida State University to withhold records about Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston, who has been accused of sexual assault in December 2012.
A proposed amendment to the Private College Campus Police Act would require campus police departments at private universities, including at the University of Chicago, to publicly disclose any information that other law enforcement agencies are required to provide under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
Sen. John Whitmire proposed a bill on Jan. 15 to amend the Texas Education Code to require police departments at private colleges to follow the state’s public records law just like other law enforcement agencies. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, which has not yet set a date for a public hearing.