Newspaper Sues Harvard Police for More Detailed Crime Reports

BOSTON, Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court recently heard an appeal from the Harvard Crimson newspaper requesting Harvard University release more information relating to crimes committed on campus.

The publication’s lawyer argued that because Harvard’s police force has special state police powers, such as the right to make an arrest and obtain and execute a search warrant, the university’s police department should be obligated to abide by a Massachusetts law requiring public police forces to release reports filed in response to calls unless the reports are specifically exempted.

Harvard University officials contend, however, that the rules do not apply because the school’s police department is a private entity and Harvard must protect the privacy of student victims.

The Crimson hopes to obtain information on events leading to an arrest or leading to the decision to not make an arrest.

The suit was previously dismissed by a lower court, asserting that this is a legislative issue. Currently, the Massachusetts State Senate is considering a bill that would force campus police departments to release crime reports.

The court will most likely rule on the issue by April 2006.

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