Group appeals record denial

By By Arthur Raymond

By Arthur Raymond

Former U student Katie Patterson is appealing the Utah Record Committee’s decision to keep secret the identities of employees in the U’s animal research lab.

Patterson, a member of the animal-rights group Utah Primate Freedom Project, filed an appeal in the Utah 3rd District Court on July 30 hoping to overturn a decision issued by the committee to deny her access to the names and addresses of U researchers. Attorneys for the U argued that they are justified in withholding the records because the safety of the researchers could be at risk.

The committee ruling, handed down in early July, was the result of Patterson’s formal appeal of a records request that was denied by the U last spring.

The district court appeal is the latest development in an ongoing effort by the Utah Primate Freedom Project to obtain the names of researchers that they believe are conducting inappropriate animal testing on the U campus. The U has maintained that the testing is highly regulated and conducted in a manner that has been approved by federal inspectors.

The U’s legal office declined to comment on the appeal. U spokesperson Coralie Alder said the U will continue to protect the privacy of the researchers and is concerned that information released could be used by groups other than Utah Primate Freedom Project that have a record of illegal activities.

Utah Primate Freedom Project President Jeremy Beckham, a junior political science major at the U, said that denying the records in the name of safety was ignoring how a democracy works. Beckham asserted that any group intent on breaking the law would do so regardless of what information was, or was not, available.

Patterson, who has found herself near the center of this controversy, has chosen to withdraw from the U. She is concerned that her tuition represents a financial contribution to the efforts of the U to “conceal what is really going on with animal testing on campus.” She also said that the time commitment and pressure of her legal battle with the U has made remaining a student untenable.

Patterson is currently reviewing options for legal representation for her appeal.

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