National Freedom of Information Coalition
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ND: Bill would protect Title IX cases from open records

A bill introduced Tuesday in the state Legislature could pull North Dakota University System sexual discrimination cases from the public record.

As introduced, Senate Bill 2295 would add new language to the North Dakota Century Code exempting records related to complaints or investigations under Title IX — the federal law prohibiting sexual discrimination in federally funded education systems — from public disclosure. The bill also would amend existing code to extend public record exemptions to cover data produced from university research studies. Both sections would apply to institutions under the control of the State Board of Higher Education.

Donna Smith, the Title IX coordinator for the University of North Dakota, said the records produced in cases of alleged sexual discrimination apply to cases of sexual harassment and assault. Smith said current public access to such records is a “concern for many people I visit with.”