Campus police at private colleges and universities might soon be subject to the state’s public records law in response to a N.C. Supreme Court case involving a former Elon University television reporter.
Nick Ochsner pursued legal action after he was denied access to an incident report following a student’s arrest in 2010. The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the private university’s right to withhold the records, and the N.C. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Feb. 13.
Elon and other private institutions argue they should be exempt from the state’s disclosure law, which requires incident reports to be open to the public.
CAMPUS POLICE CASE
- Nick Ochsner filed a complaint against Elon University and N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper in 2011 to receive records related to a 2010 student arrest.
- The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the university and its right to withhold the records.
- The N.C. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Feb. 13, and a bill has also been filed in the House that would require police on private school campuses to release more records.
Amanda Martin, one of Ochsner’s attorneys who has also represented The Daily Tar Heel, said campus police should be subject to the same level of scrutiny regarding public records as city or county police.
“If the government turns over control, the public should not suffer because of that transfer of power,” she said.