State house passes bill to require campus police to disclose arrest records
Observer Staff Report | Tuesday, January 26, 2016
The Indiana House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to change state law to require private university police departments to disclose records related to arrests or incarcerations.
The bill was approved by a 95-to-0 vote during last Thursday’s session. It will now move to the Indiana Senate for consideration.
State Rep. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend), co-author of the bill, said in a previous interview with The Observer that the purpose of the bill is to require university police departments to be more transparent with their public records. If passed, the bill would apply to Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), the University’s private police force.
In January 2015, ESPN filed a lawsuit against the University after NDSP refused to grant an ESPN reporter access to campus police records related to student-athletes. The case, ruled in Notre Dame’s favor by the St. Joseph Superior Court, was appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals by ESPN. Oral arguments for the appeal are scheduled for Feb. 24, according to the South Bend Tribune.
Bauer, a Notre Dame alumnus, said the bill is not a direct result of the ESPN lawsuit. Rather, he said the bill stems from concerns raised by Indiana citizens, including many Notre Dame graduates.
Because the bill relates only to cases involving arrests and incarcerations, university police departments will still not be required to disclose the same range of records as public police departments.
Bauer said the bill was crafted by bipartisan authors, with the help from the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI). Although Bauer sits on the board of the ICI, he said there is no conflict of interest because his position is unpaid, according to the South Bend Tribune.