Days after a McLennan County judge gave former Baylor fraternity president Jacob Walter Anderson a soft sentence after he was charged with raping another student, the University of Texas at Dallas announced it has banned Anderson from campus, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.
Anderson had been attending graduate school at UT Dallas after he was kicked out of Baylor following his 2016 arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting another Baylor student at a frat party. The victim had told police she became disoriented at the party after someone handed her punch, and that Anderson took her outside to get some air, where she said he sexually assaulted her and repeatedly choked her. “When I was completely unconscious, he dumped me face down in the dirt and left me there to die,” the woman said in court Monday. “He had taken what he wanted, had proven his power over my body. He then walked home and went to bed without a second thought to the ravaged, half-dead woman he had left behind.”
Though the woman wanted to take her case to trial, McLennan County prosecutors instead offered Anderson a generous plea deal, which was approved by 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother on Monday. Under the conditions of the plea deal, Anderson pled no contest to a third-degree felony charge of unlawful restraint, and will pay a $400 fine and receive deferred probation. The four counts of sexual assault for which Anderson was indicted were dismissed, and if he completes his three-year probation and attends counseling, there will be no final judgment of guilt. He won’t register as a sex offender or serve time in jail.
The lenient plea deal sparked protests and intense backlash on social media, and after the plea deal was approved on Monday, Kelly Castro, a senior at UT Dallas, started a petition calling to ban Anderson from campus, where he had been pursuing a finance degree. “If he wasn’t good enough for Baylor, why should he be trusted to be good enough for UTD either?” Castro told the Tribune-Herald. “It is very disheartening. Sexual assault is a hot topic on campus now. There is a lot of date rape now, and for it to still be happening and nothing being done about it is very disheartening.” As of Thursday morning, the petition had more than 27,000 signatures.
On Wednesday the university announced that Anderson would no longer be allowed on campus. “Two years ago we admitted a student without knowing their legal history,” UT Dallas president Richard Benson said in a statement, according to the Tribune-Herald. “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 a guest. I am grateful to the UT Dallas students, faculty and other community members who have shared their concerns, disappointment and outrage over this student’s presence on our campus.”
Classes at UT Dallas ended last week, according to the Dallas Morning News. Anderson’s attorney Tim Moore told the Tribune-Herald that Anderson will still graduate next week as planned. “He is not real happy about being banned from the school,” Moore told the Tribune-Herald.