Is paved with good intentions like this latently nefarious bill.
Under Senate Bill 153, all private colleges and universities with their own campus police would have to follow the state’s Open Records Act. The legislation was unanimously passed out of the Senate Judiciary committee Thursday evening.
“I think it’s wonderful for the students, their parents, school employees and the general public,” said the bill co-sponsor, Sen. David Adelman, D-Atlanta. “I believe in openness of the government, and this would be another step in making that happen.”
Adelman and a handful of other state senators proposed the legislation last month after the Georgia Court of Appeals struck down a lower court ruling that said Mercer had to turn over its police reports to an Atlanta law firm.
It sounds good, doesn’t it? Private universities will have to release police reports, etc.
But, the police departments at private institutions are private, the police are not state police. As a result, there is no immunity for a campus police officer so the police officer risks a personal lawsuit. The university is going to have to increase insurance on their police officers, which will cause an increase in already high tuition.
The Telegraph article, which leaves out details that would speak poorly of the law, also does not mention that the attorney pushing it seems to have some grudge against the University.
Oh, and here is my disclosure, I went to Mercer and was the Chief Justice of its University Judicial System. I know enough about the workings of the campus police to know that they are quite competent and this whole story seems more to be one person’s grudge than anything else.