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SPLC.org: Former Elon student asks N.C. Supreme Court to open police records at private colleges

From SPLC.org (7/10/12): Nick Ochsner, the former Elon University student journalist who was denied access to records held by the private school's police department, is taking his case to the state Supreme Court.

Ochsner filed a petition Tuesday to have his case against the university and the state attorney general’s office heard by the North Carolina Supreme Court. In doing so, he hopes to reverse a June appellate court ruling in which held that private university police departments in North Carolina are not subject to the state’s open records law.

In 2010, Ochsner, now a television reporter for KAMC in Lubbock, Texas, worked for the Elon campus TV production Phoenix14News. Following a fellow student’s arrest, he sought a complete police incident report. The initial records Ochsner received from the campus police department, however, contained only “skeletal information,” according to the petition filed Tuesday.

Ochsner was given access to only the suspect’s name, date and location of arrest, charges and bond amount. He then asked the attorney general’s office for a copy of the narrative portion of the incident report. Despite a state statute that names the attorney general the “legal custodian” of campus police program records, the office responded that it did not have the records in question.

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Colin Donohue,
Staff
7/11/2012 9:50 AM