The Norman Transcript

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August 27, 2013

Student to re-file lawsuit against university

NORMAN — After a hearing Monday, a University of Oklahoma student plans to re-file a petition, this time against the university, in lieu of a previous suit against President David Boren and the university’s director of the Open Records Office.

The hearing in Cleveland County District Court was regarding a lawsuit filed earlier this year by Joey Stipek, OU student and former online editor of The Oklahoma Daily.

The lawsuit was filed in May after the university repeatedly refused to release student parking citation information to employees of the university’s student newspaper.

During the hearing, District Judge Lori Walkley ruled that the petition will be dismissed and must be re-filed against the university instead of specifically against President Boren and Rachel McCombs, director of the Open Records Office.

“It’s unbelievable that only two of these individuals are named,” said Boren’s attorney Shawnae Robey, calling the petition “strong-armed tactics” against the Open Records officer and the president of the university.

According to the defendants’ reply filed Aug. 19, the wrong defendants were named and Stipek was not denied any request for existing records under the Open Records Act.

The document states that Stipek never made a request of Boren and was never denied a request by Boren. Boren is not and was not a member of the university’s Open Records Office and does not serve as a supervisor over the office.

Similarly, McCombs is not a member of the university’s records office and was not serving the university in that capacity when the petition was filed, the document states.

Also, the information that is in question is that of the university, not of Boren or McCombs. The document emphasized that Stipek’s issue is actually with university record-keeping and university obligations.

“This matter is not currently about an institution, it is about Rachel McCombs and David Boren — individuals without lawful control or authority over the already provided records or the non-existent records, which (Stipek) still fails to articulate he is lawfully entitled to force the university to manufacture and produce,” the document states.

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