OSHKOSH – In an unprecedented intrusion on news reporting, UW-Oshkosh is seeking to bar a journalist from publishing information obtained from documents it says were sent to him by mistake.
Attorney General Brad Schimel filed a motion on Oct. 3 to reopen the open records case involving journalist Alex Nemec and UW-Oshkosh business school professor Willis W. Hagen III, who reportedly was relieved of his classes in 2017. The university’s motion asks the court to order Nemec to destroy the records and prohibit him from publishing any information gleaned from them.
In a separate motion, attorneys for Hagen demand that Nemec turn over the names of anyone with whom he’s discussed the contents of the documents.
In 2017, Nemec, then a reporter for UW-Oshkosh’s student newspaper, The Advance-Titan, filed an open records request for a complaint against Hagen and related documents. Hagen sued the university and the UW System Board of Regents to block their release.
In a decision upheld on appeal, the judge ordered the records released but with some material redacted.
When the records custodian finally released the documents in August, she inadvertently sent the unredacted copies to Nemec, according to court records.
Nemec now works for the Oconomowoc Enterprise.