Marshall Student Newspaper: University Police Hid Sexual Assault Report

In a news report published yesterday, The Parthenon student newspaper at Marshall University says that university police did not release information regarding a recent alleged sexual assault.  According to the paper, the police went so far as to hide the assault report in a second crime log, one that is not given to the Parthenon during its weekly crime check.

The Parthenon piece noted that staffers first heard rumors of a “gang rape” in a freshmen dorm weeks ago, but found no relevant information in the crime log provided by the Marshall University Police Department.  Yet, the MUPD did hand over a log with details of the assault to a Charleston Gazette reporter- and late this week to an MU student who did not reveal his Parthenon affiliation.

The news report: “A Parthenon staffer who visited the Marshall University Police Department on Thursday night was shown a different crime log that has not previously been shown to the Parthenon. The staffer was shown a binder titled Clery Act and was given access to the reports included in it by a night employee. The staffer was permitted to take photographs of both the binder and the reports. The staffer did not identify himself as a member of the Parthenon.”

Why the dueling logs and the double standard for student press access? The paper and student press advocates do not seem to buy the keep-quiet-for-ongoing-investigation-purposes excuse.

Hagit Limor, president of the Society of Professional Journalists: “Police need to release those public records, not only because it’s the law, but because it’s a matter of public safety to the students on this campus.  There is no excuse to hide from the public information vital to its safety.”

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