For immediate release:
Jan. 21, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS — State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) has taken a bold step toward ensuring that police departments at private universities are transparent about crimes that take place on those campuses.
By a 95-0 vote, House members approved House Bill 1022 which would hold private university police departments accountable by requiring that their records be subject to public disclosure.
The bill, authored by Bauer with input from the Independent Colleges of Indiana and co-authored by Rep. Casey Cox (R-Fort Wayne), Rep. Timothy Harman (R-Bremen) and Rep. Christina Hale (D-Indianapolis), would require private university police departments to release records related to arrests and incarcerations made by their police force.
Currently, the departments are exempt from Indiana’s public records law that requires them to divulge the information, allowing officials to conceal the identity of involved students.
“This is a pressing issue for private universities,” said Bauer. “We need to make sure that students are being held responsible for their actions and that the university is releasing pertinent information about the cases. People have a right to know what is happening in their community.”
Under Bauer’s proposed changes, the identity of students who have been arrested or incarcerated would no longer be withheld. However, victims of sexual assault would be able to keep their names private.
While the bill does not apply Indiana’s public records laws to private universities, it does institute a policy that would help ensure that private university police departments are held to the same standard as city, county and state police agencies in Indiana.
“I believe that everyone, regardless of the university they attend, should be held accountable for their actions,” said Bauer. “This legislation would ensure that the university is being transparent about arrests and incarcerations that are the result of their private university police department’s investigations.”
House Bill 1022 now moves to the Indiana Senate for consideration.