Dimitris Desyllas broke no law. He was merely in receipt of a box of student disciplinary records anonymously placed in front of his office. Desyllas, a responsible student and citizen, informed the administration he had the box.
Forgetting that Portland State is not a police state, the administration locked Desyllas out of his office, supposedly on the advice of the state attorney general. This was problematic in that Desyllas was working on an article, and needed to carry out his duties as Rearguard editor.
Desyllas was threatened with having his office searched (once a search warrant was obtained), and being given detention. Desyelas eventually turned over the records.
The administration claimed that it was just trying to keep the records safe. Desyllas said he never would have published the information in the files.Why weren’t the files secure in the first place? Why was confidential student information sitting in a Smith Center hall? Obviously a mistake was made, but Dimitris Desyllas was not the responsible party and shouldn’t have been treated as such.
Furthermore, how does the administration suddenly have the ability to declare martial law over the press? The Oregon Revised Statutes state, “no papers, effects or work premises of a person connected with, employed by or engaged in any medium of communication to the public shall be subject to a search by a legislative, executive or judcial officer or body …. ”
Whether or not Desyllas was planning to publish the information in the box is irrelevant. The administration broke the law when they locked Desyllas’ office.