Harvard Newspaper Calls For Open Police Records Law

Published: March 6, 2006

BOSTON – The Crimson, Harvard University’s newspaper, is supporting a bill that would require the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) to make its reports available for public review.

Via an appeal filed in November, the newspaper had attempted to gain greater access to the campus police department’s records. It claimed the school’s police incident records should be subject to Massachusetts’ open records law because Harvard’s police force had been granted official law enforcement authority by the state.

In January, however, the Massachusetts state court disagreed. It ruled that because Harvard is a private entity, the open records law doesn’t apply to it, despite the fact campus police are performing state police duties.

Most other Boston-area schools voluntarily release their crime reports. If the bill passes, the new police report would provide detailed accounts of incidents to which the police department responds.

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Sen. Jarrett Barrios (D-Cambridge) is sponsoring the bill, and the Senate is scheduled to vote on it March 15.

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