Eric Owens of the Daily Caller shines an unwanted spotlight on the state’s flagship public university.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has turned down a television station’s open records request by claiming that it is a law enforcement agency.

UNC Chapel Hill officials made their declaration that the taxpayer-funded, 29,000-student school is actually a very large crime-fighting force after Charlotte CBS affiliate WBTV requested public records from Jeffrey B. Welty, an associate professor within the UNC School of Government.

“I need to run this by our public records point person,” Welty initially told WBTV in a mid-May response to the records request. “I am not aware of any basis for doing anything other than providing any responsive documents that I may have, but we have a process for such things that I need to follow.”

Several days later, however, the UNC Chapel Hill public records office decided to deny the CBS affiliate’s records request.

To justify the denial, the UNC Chapel Hill records office cited a proviso in the North Carolina Public Records Act which exempts state law enforcement agencies from open records requests.