The University of Texas at Dallas announced Wednesday that one of its students will not be allowed to participate in the school’s graduation ceremony or attend graduate school there.
The statement did not identify the student, but it comes after thousands signed a petition for the removal of Jacob Walter Anderson, who was accused of raping a woman at Baylor University in 2016.
The statement indicated that the student will still graduate from the university.
University officials said they could not identify the student but confirmed that Jacob Anderson was still currently enrolled at the school.
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As of Wednesday, Anderson was listed in the UT Dallas directory as a senior studying finance in the School of Management. He was set to graduate next week.
At about 4:40 p.m., UT Dallas released the following statement from President Richard C. Benson:
“There is nothing more important at UT Dallas than the safety and security of our students. Two years ago we admitted a student without knowing their legal history. Based on recent court action and other information over the last several days, that student will not participate in UTD commencement activities, will not attend UT Dallas graduate school and will not be present on campus as a student or guest,” the statement read.
Replies to the university’s statement ranged from anger from students who pointed out the student will still be able to graduate to gratitude from students who said they felt listened to.
“Why give him the privilege of the UTD alma mater? It will always reflect on you, he will always be a representative of UTD,” one person tweeted.
“THANK YOU for doing the RIGHT thing,” another said.
Students on a Reddit thread also responded to the statement with anger.
“Glad to know that our petition worked! I’m satisfied with this outcome. Thanks UTD!” one person said. “Edit: I read the comments on that fb post and it seems that he’s still going to get a degree from UTD. I TAKE BACK MY WORDS.”
“What would be the implications of not giving him a degree after 2 years of paying for one (both in time and money)? Even if UTD refunded his tuition for both years, would they face legal trouble?” another wrote. “I’m just trying to play devils advocate here. That’s the only plausible reason that they would allow a convicted rapist to be an alumnus.”
On Monday, a judge in Waco accepted a controversial plea deal for the former Baylor University fraternity president accused of sexual assault, granting Anderson no jail time, according to a representative for State District Judge Ralph Strother.
A woman referred to as Donna Doe said Anderson raped her repeatedly at a frat party at Baylor in 2016.
About 21,000 people signed an online petition calling for The University of Texas at Dallas to remove Anderson.
“The students at UT Dallas have a right to protection from predators like Anderson,” the petition states. “He submitted a plea of no contest and was sentenced to deferred probation, and will not be made to register as a sex offender. That being the case, the school has a responsibility to remove him from this new potential hunting ground. #BaylorRapistJacobAnderson.”
The list of signers was growing throughout the day. It wasn’t the only online petition circulating related to the high-profile sexual assault case. A petition on the Care2 Petitions website objecting to the plea deal was signed by more than 115,000 people.