The Utah Valley University Police Department can no longer charge students for incident reports, according to a 6-0 vote from the Utah State Records Committee on Thursday.
“The committee’s decision today shows that it’s not right for a campus police department to try and price reporters out of doing their jobs,” said Eric Peterson, president of the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, in a press release. “Reporters are just trying to keep the campus public informed and safe — that mission shouldn’t put them at odds with a police agency, it should put them on the same page about the importance of transparency.”
UVU police used to provide incident reports to student journalists for free, but begun charging them $5 per initial incident report in 2017. Under the ruling, the department will provide them for free once again.
“We respect the committee’s decision and will abide by it,” said Scott Trotter, a spokesman for UVU.
Mack Jones, a reporter for the UVU Review, the campus’s student newspaper, and Peterson, challenged the ruling.
“The Utah Headliners SPJ was a wonderful help throughout the appeal process, as I had questions when preparing my argument for the committee,” Jones said in a press release. “Their feedback and guidance helped me feel prepared to make my case. It was also reassuring to know that I had the support of the Utah Headliners SPJ behind me when I faced the committee.”