IN Supreme Court rules in ND’s favor in case brought by ESPN
Observer Staff Report | Thursday, November 17, 2016
The Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), along with other private Indiana universities with private police forces, have no obligation to disclose police records or investigations, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
The ruling comes after a long legal battle between the University and ESPN, which sued Notre Dame for access to police records involving athletes.
The decision ruled that NDSP is “not a public agency for the purposes of APRA [Access to Public Records Act]” — a ruling which affirmed a previous trial court decision.
Public police forces, such as the Indiana State Police Department and the South Bend Police Department, are obligated to release their respective records under APRA.
According to the decision, private educational institutions “have been granted statutory authority to appoint police officers to protect their campuses,” and while these officers do have the power to arrest, they are also obligated to enforce the rules and regulations of the educational institution.
“We are pleased but not surprised by the decision,” Notre Dame spokesman Paul J. Browne said in an interview with the South Bend Tribune. “The Court took a careful look at APRA and unanimously concluded that the statute’s plain language made clear that it did not apply to private university police departments.”
“We are extremely disappointed by the ruling and what it represents for public transparency,” ESPN said in a statement.