The reason we do not have the police blotter this week is because school policies have changed. Over the years, the UVU Review, along with the public, have been allowed access to the school police department’s initial incident reports just by asking for them. The initial incident reports contain a police officer’s narrative of the crime that occurred and how it was handled.
As of two weeks ago, we no longer get the reports and all we get is the time, location and a one word description of the crime that occurred. While the absence of a narrative is legal, the university has chosen to give us the legal minimum amount of information for every crime that occurs on or around this campus. Without a narrative, we don’t know how crimes are handled at the university or any outcome of the situation. We were told that the reasoning behind the institution’s decision to format police logs this way is so that it protects survivors of assault.
The UVU Review has never published the name of a victim of a crime, and it would go against our ethical standards to do so. Institutional indifference grows in darkness and this change to the police reports does not allow any sunlight to the crimes that occur on this campus. The absence of a narrative on the police logs gives a false sense of security to students if we aren’t given the information of a situation such as an assault, theft, drug crime or.
With UVU’s Title IX Office facing a federal investigation by the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office, this move does not promote institutional transparency. Fortunately, initial incident reports are public information and the Government Records Access and Management Act allows us to request the information. This process can take days compared to how it used to take us 20 minutes to walk to the police station to look at the reports. The police blotter section of our newspaper is the most read and the most telling of our campus environment.
The UVU Review will continue to investigate by sending multiple GRAMA requests to the university in order to inform our readers about the crimes that occur on campus. The late veteran reporter Helen Thomas once said, “we don’t go into journalism to be popular. It is our job to seek the truth and put constant pressure on our leaders until we get answers.”
Staff of the UVU Review