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Bill Protecting Private Universities From Public Records Laws Heads To Governor For Signing

Paul Vladuchick

A bill that would protect private university police departments from disclosing the same public records as all other police departments is now sitting on the governor’s desk.

South Bend Representative Pat Bauer proposed the bill, which would only require private university police departments to disclose information about people they arrest or put in jail.

That means they won’t have to hand over any investigatory records, which President of the Indiana Coalition for Open Government Gerry Lanosga says make up the majority of police interactions.

“We generally don’t approve of the concept of secret policing and essentially that’s what we’re allowing to happen here,” says Lanosga. “In some way, if we allow some records that other police departments have to disclose to be kept private.”

An amendment to the bill also provides private university police officers with the same immunities and protections as state police officers.

The legislation comes as the University of Notre Dame and ESPN are battling in court over whether the Notre Dame Security Police should have to release certain records to the public.

Notre Dame argues its status as a private university extends to its police department.

Indiana’s appeals court heard oral arguments in that case last month.

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