Indiana Daily Student

After violating state public access law, IU continues to deny IDS sexual assault records

<p>The Indiana Daily Student newsroom sits empty July 16, 2019, in Franklin Hall. IU denied the Indiana Daily Student access to parts of student Chris Parker&#x27;s disciplinary record involved in the &#x27;Dissonance in due process&#x27; investigation for a second time.</p>

The Indiana Daily Student newsroom sits empty July 16, 2019, in Franklin Hall. IU denied the Indiana Daily Student access to parts of student Chris Parker's disciplinary record involved in the 'Dissonance in due process' investigation for a second time.

For a second time, IU denied the Indiana Daily Student access to parts of student Chris Parker's disciplinary record involved in the 'Dissonance in due process' investigation. The Indiana Public Access Counselor said in its Jan. 31 opinion the university violated public access laws in its first refusal. 

The IDS obtained a 2016 suspension letter in August 2021, which found Parker responsible for a sexual assault after a Title IX investigation and hearing process. 

Related: [IU’s denial of sexual assault record access violates public access laws, state says]

Since the IDS obtained this document, the university said in an email it could deny the newsroom’s request. The document contained the records requested, so the university said it did not need to relay the requested information because the IDS was already in possession of the information. 

"We are aware that IDS already obtained these three pieces of information," the email said. "Because IDS is already in possession of the three pieces of information discussed in the Opinion, no further disclosure is necessary or appropriate in response to your request."

The IDS first requested Parker’s disciplinary record in an open records request Sept. 14, 2021. IU is a public university, meaning it is subject to the Access to Public Records Act. The request cited Indiana Code and an exemption to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. For “crimes of violence” or “nonforcible sex offenses,” the FERPA exemption allows an institution to release the name of the student in question, the violation and any sanction imposed on the student.

Related: [Dissonance in due process]

After the university initially denied access to these records in October 2021, the IDS reported the situation to the Public Access Counselor, who accepts complaints regarding issues and violations of public access laws. The office said IU violated the Access to Public Records Act when denying the request.

The IDS reached out to IU spokesperson Chuck Carney and the Office of the General Counsel on March 23 to ask for the specific legal citations used as reasoning for the university denying the request. The IDS has not received a response as of Monday. 

For the latest denial, the university said it considers the case closed.

The IDS will continue to press for the requested information.

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