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Letters to the Editor

FOI Council objects to secrecy in ISU stadium accident

DES MOINES – Iowa State University officials are ignoring requirements of state law by refusing to release the names of spectators who were injured when a fan fell from the upper deck at Jack Trice Field, the Iowa Freedom of Information Council said Monday in a letter to the school’s chief counsel.

The accident occurred October 26 during the Cyclones’ football game against Oklahoma State University.

The state’s public records law says government law enforcement agencies, such as ISU Police, must make public the “immediate facts and circumstances” about any crime or other incident law officers investigate.

In a letter to Michael Norton, the ISU lawyer, the Iowa FOI Council’s executive director wrote that section 22.7(5) of state law requires release of the “immediate facts and circumstances” except in those unusual circumstances where disclosure would seriously jeopardize an investigation or pose a danger to the safety of someone.

In the letter, Executive Director Randy Evans said, “I don’t believe there is any credible basis for withholding the name of the spectator who fell from the upper deck or the names of the spectators in the seats below who were injured.”

Evans continued: “The very nature of the term ‘immediate facts and circumstances’ carries with it the implicit meaning that Iowa State University cannot wait weeks or months until its investigation of the Jack Trice Stadium incident is finished before releasing the ‘immediate facts and circumstances’.”

The letter from Evans to Iowa State University can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/y4yrrlu7

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