Massachusetts Court: Harvard Police Reports Not Subject to Open Records Law

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled Jan. 13 that Harvard’s police incident records are not required by law to be released to the public.

Via an appeal filed in November, Harvard’s student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, 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.

The court disagreed, saying 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.

Proponents of the open record law being applied to private universities with special state police officers said they will now try to persuade state legislators to broaden the law.

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