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Journalistic Justice Prevails

Freedom of Information

About This Case

In the Joey Stipek v. the University of Oklahoma case, Nick Harrison demonstrated his expertise in open records laws and Freedom of Information Act principles, successfully challenging educational privacy defenses to uphold the rights of student journalists and reinforce public information transparency.

In a pivotal case, Nick Harrison successfully advocated for Joey Stipek, a student journalist, against the University of Oklahoma. Stipek’s investigative work exposed potential preferential treatment of student-athletes in parking violations. The university’s attempt to deny access to records citing educational privacy laws led to a significant legal challenge. Harrison’s involvement in this high-profile case, which resulted in a victory, highlighted his dedication to justice, advocacy for open records laws, and skilled legal strategy.


The primary challenge was the University of Oklahoma’s refusal to release parking ticket records, invoking educational privacy laws. This presented a significant barrier in defending public information access and the rights of the student press.


Joey Stipek, pursuing investigative journalism, requested records of parking violations to probe into suspected special treatment for student-athletes. The university’s denial, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, posed critical questions about institutional transparency and public records accessibility.


1. Legal Representation and Strategic Planning

Nick Harrison, representing Stipek, formulated an in-depth legal strategy, capitalizing on his expertise in open records laws and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) principles.

2. Overcoming Legal Hurdles

The case traversed various legal complexities, including procedural intricacies, changing jurisdictions, and early setbacks. Harrison’s approach required meticulous legal process navigation and profound knowledge of relevant laws.

3. Deposition Support and Tactical Advocacy

Harrison effectively supported Stipek during a challenging deposition phase, where invasive questioning aimed to weaken his request. Anticipating the university’s potential strategy, Harrison effectively argued that Stipek’s request was rooted in his journalistic role, not a personal pursuit.


The case concluded with a significant legal victory, setting a precedent that parking ticket records are not covered by educational privacy laws. This victory not only affirmed the rights of student journalists to access public records but also emphasized the need for transparency in public institutions. The successful outcome of this case served as a testament to Harrison’s principled legal strategy and advocacy, reinforcing his reputation as a staunch defender of justice and open records​​​​.

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