BYU will appeal judge’s ruling that its police department should be subject to Utah’s open-records laws

( Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune file photo) Police offices on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo. July 17, 2018

PROVO, Utah — Brigham Young University will appeal a judge’s ruling that its police department is a governmental entity that should have to comply with Utah’s open-records laws, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Officials with the private university confirmed on Tuesday that it will appeal 3rd District Judge Laura Scott’s ruling in a 2016 lawsuit filed by The Salt Lake Tribune. Their decision comes after the judge on Tuesday filed a lengthier, 33-page analysis supporting her ruling, which was issued last week.

“We intend to appeal,” BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead wrote in a statement, “and as the Court wrote in today’s ruling: ‘BYU has strong arguments worthy of appellate consideration.’ ”

In 2016, The Tribune filed a lawsuit arguing that the BYU police force should be open to public records requests because it has “full-spectrum” law enforcement authority under state law. This means BYU officers may stop, search, arrest and use physical force against people, just as any other sworn officer in the state.

The law enforcement arm of the university, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has contended that it is exempt from the state’s Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) because it is part of a private university.

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