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Student journalists fighting for access to documents and records are not always found in the courtroom. More often these students are engaged in everyday battles

(09/01/05 12:00am)

These obstacles can delay or prevent the public from obtaining information that could protect students from violent crime, potential health hazards or simply learning how state money is being used.





Join SPLC's Sunshine Week campus safety audit

(01/29/13 3:02pm)

In just a little over a month, journalists across the country will celebrate open government in action. Held annually in March, Sunshine Week is a chance for journalists to demonstrate to lawmakers and the public the importance of open government and easy access to public records. In the past, the Student Press Law Center has teamed up with student journalists across the country on public records projects.


College won't give you public records about crime? Maybe it's because ... crime, what crime, we didn't see any crime.

(05/16/13 1:42pm)

This morning, I learned that Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina is being investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation after city police discovered at least 126 reports of crimes since 2007 that campus police failed to investigate, including 18 reports of sexual assaults. When I saw the news, I was immediately reminded of a series of public-records request that I and others at the SPLC have made in the past few months.


Penn State's silence on Clery report shows need for public records reform

(07/16/13 1:08pm)

Last week, the Department of Education issued its preliminary report, part of its investigation into whether Pennsylvania State University violated the Clery Act in its handling of allegations of sexual abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. It will likely be years, though, before the public learns what the department uncovered in its far-reaching review of campus safety practices at the school since 1998 — one of the largest and most high-profile investigations ever. The reason for the secrecy is two-fold. A federal law requires the Department of Education to maintain the confidentiality of any program reviews until the final program report is issued.


Campus crime statistics unavailable from government during shutdown, but we have 'em

(10/01/13 12:16pm)

We often encourage student journalists to look up campus crime statistics reported by their school using the Department of Education's "Data Analysis Cutting Tool." On that website, students can look up statistics reported annually by their school as required by the Jeanne Clery Act, as well as those reported by other schools. Students (and members of the public) trying to do that today won't be able to.


New federal regulations on campus crime increase transparency

(10/20/14 4:52pm)

New rules that change what colleges have to do under the Clery Act were published today. The new regulations — the result of months of discussions and negotiations following the 2013 passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act — are designed to lend greater transparency to the process by which colleges respond to crimes of sexual violence affecting students.


Most college police agencies in Texas do not have guidelines for stalking cases, report shows

(10/24/14 3:13pm)

The study also published survey results of 56 police officers from Texas colleges responding to questions related to their understanding of stalking and official procedures to address it. The answers from respondents — most of them identified as police chiefs — show that seven out of 10 did not have specific guidelines at their institution for dealing with stalking cases, and that few of them work with off-campus organizations that help victims of stalking.