UT Media Relations and UTPD delayed The Daily Beacon's access to public record Monday, skirting Tennessee state law.
Managing Editor Emily DeLanzo, a senior in environmental studies, requested a completed police report that she believed involved Yemi Makanjuola, a sophomore center for the men's basketball team who will transfer to a different school next year.
DeLanzo was working on a lead developed by David Cobb, the Assistant News Editor and a sophomore in journalism and electronic media. At 8 p.m. Sunday, Cobb initially requested reports that he suspected involved Makanjuola.
DeLanzo followed up on his request Monday, and visited the station to pay a small fee and receive the report in-person. She was told to wait in the lobby.
A few minutes later, Public Information Officer Lt. Mike Richardson came into the lobby to inform DeLanzo that she would need to obtain the report from the UT Media Relations office. Richardson then refunded her money.
Tennessee Code Annotated 10-7-503 section (2) (A) states: "All state, county and municipal records shall, at all times during business hours ... be open for personal inspection by any citizen of this state, and those in charge of the records shall not refuse such right of inspection to any citizen, unless otherwise provided by state law."
In Bauer vs. Kincaid, a 1990 lawsuit filed in Missouri, a district court held that a public university newspaper may obtain and publish incident reports from a campus security department.
DeLanzo acquired the report almost five hours after Cobb was assured of its prompt delivery. It detailed an incident that occurred on Feb. 15 in Volunteer Hall between Makanjuola and a female student of the university.
No charges were filed, but the victim invoked an order of protection against Makanjuola.
A seperate police report was also requested on Monday afternoon. As The Daily Beacon was going to print, the additional report had still not been released.