The Iowa Supreme Court has overturned a district court ruling requiring the University of Iowa to release some documents related to a sexual assault committed by two former football players.
The Iowa City Press Citizen newspaper requested documents under Iowa’s open records law relating to the sexual assault of a female student athlete in 2007 by former Hawkeye football players Cedric Everson and Abe Satterfield.
University of Iowa officials refused to release the documents citing federal privacy law that overrides state law regarding student records. The district court ordered the university to release some records that did not identify the students involved and also some records that had student information blacked out.
The university appealed, saying since the identity of the students was known, the paper could learn confidential information about them even if their names were blacked out. The paper argued the university was being inconsistent in its position on the information as the school president, the athletic director, and the football coach have commented publicly on aspects of the University’s response to the alleged sexual assault. And the Board of Regents produced a 72-page report criticizing the university response to the issue.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruling agrees the university has been inconsistent, but said that is not a legal issue in this case. The court ruled 4-3 the information requested by the Press-Citizen is protected under the federal order, and reversed the district court decision ordering its release.
See the entire ruling here:U-I records ruling PDF