N.C. Supreme Court will consider case involving private campus police records
The North Carolina Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case regarding campus police records at private schools, an important victory for the Elon University graduate and former student journalist.
In June, the N.C. court of appeals ruled that private university police departments in the state are not subject to the state's open records law. The appeals court upheld an earlier ruling issued last year that found the school provided sufficient information when Nick Ochsner requested police records from the school's Campus Safety and Police Department.
Ochsner, a former reporter for the school's campus TV station, sought records relating to an on-campus arrest of another student. He was eventually provided a bare-bones incident report with the suspect's name, date and location of arrest, charges and bond amount. Ochsner seeks the narrative account of the report.
Campus police records at public universities are public under the state's open records law.
Because the appeals court's decision was unanimous, Ochsner had no automatic right of appeal. He said he was pleased the state's highest court had agreed to hear his case.
"The Supreme Court thought this issue was important enough that it warranted their appeal," Ochsner said. "This is us clearing the first hurdle."
For more information:
- Appeals court: Private college police not covered by N.C. open records law
- Student's suit against N.C. university seeks to open private campus police records
- Covering Campus Crime, an SPLC handbook