On Nov. 1, 2016, a College Heights Herald reporter filed an open records request with WKU, seeking all Title IX investigative records into faculty and staff sexual misconduct claims from the last five years. WKU denied this request, as well a similar request made by the Kentucky Kernel, the University of Kentucky’s student newspaper.
In late January, Kentucky’s Attorney General ruled against this action by the university. This decision required the university to provide the reporters with the records or appeal to the Warren County Circuit Court.
WKU decided to appeal the Attorney General’s decision, according to the Herald. This means the university is suing its own student newspaper.
To make sense of this complicated situation, a Talisman editor sat down with Mac McKerral, a journalism law and ethics professor at WKU. The Q&A below is a transcript of their conversation, which further explains the current situation and highlights the need for open records.