Male Student Sues UT at Austin President Over Sexual Assault Suspension: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: Don Baylor dies, Johnny Manziel considers coaching, and Dallas’s own Bachelorette chooses a dude.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The feet—click, click, click, click—that’s what we heard. At first we didn’t notice. A few customers said, ‘Oh my God,’ I turned around to see what was happening, and I saw a big o’ white horse in the lobby.”
—Mari Navarro, to the Victoria Advocate. Navarro works at a Whataburger in Victoria, where, on Monday, the packed restaurant was visited by a man on horseback. Not everyone was amused by the stunt—apparently the horse almost kicked the glass door on its way in, and a kid got scared and ran away before the man took his horse and left.
A male student filed a lawsuit against Gregory Fenves on Monday, alleging the University of Texas at Austin president unfairly suspended him after overruling a determination that the student had not committed sexual assault, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The student was suspended five semesters, even though, according to the lawsuit, his accuser supposedly agreed to have sex after a sorority formal in spring 2016. On April 12, Fenves overruled an university hearing officer who determined that there had been no assault, according to the lawsuit. In a letter informing the student of his suspension, Fenves said the woman was highly intoxicated, and “someone who is intoxicated cannot give consent to sexual activity because they are incapacitated.” Fenves, citing testimony from a witness who attended the formal, also wrote in the letter that “While parties may disagree as to whether intoxication and incapacitation are synonymous, certainly, someone described as: ‘incredibly intoxicated, no longer coherent, at a point where she needed to be taken home away from the event because she couldn’t form sentences,’ meets the definition of incapacitated.” The lawsuit alleges Fenves used his own standard for incapacitation beyond the university’s standard, which defines it as “a state of being that prevents an individual from having the capacity to give consent” and “could result from the use of drugs or alcohol.” Additionally, the suit alleges Fenves had a possible conflict of interest in the case because the father of the alleged sexual assault victim donated money to the university within a month after the victim made the allegations, and the university allegedly brought the victim’s father on board as some sort of adviser at the school. The lawsuit could have big implications. Brian Roark, the attorney who filed the suit, told the American-Statesman that if Fenves’s decision stays in place, it would supposedly put at risk “thousands of innocent students to being kicked out of school for engaging in behavior that is both legal and within the acceptable norm for many, if not most, Americans of college age, whether they are students or not.” On the flip side, a victory for the plaintiffs would be a setback for a university that has worked to strengthen its preventative and punitive sexual assault policies amid a widespread sexual assault problem on college campuses across the country, including in Texas. At UT at Austin, 15 percent of female students reported in a recent survey that they’d been raped while on campus.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Former MLB player Don Baylor, an Austin native who slugged 338 career home runs and won the American League MVP award in 1979, died on Monday at the age of 68, following a long battle with multiple myeloma, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Baylor was a feared power hitter over his nineteen-year career, but he was also beloved off the field. ESPN described him as “one of the most intimidating players to ever wear a major league uniform and… one of the game’s all-time gentle giants.” Baylor graduated from Austin High School, where he was one of the first African-Americans to attend the school and the first to play baseball and football. Known for fearlessly crowding the plate, Baylor was hit by a pitch 267 times during his pro career—then a baseball record—and won a World Series in 1987 with the Minnesota Twins, one of seven teams he played for before retiring and returning to the diamond as a manager. He led the clubhouse of the Colorado Rockies from 1993 to 1998 before a short stint as manager of the Chicago Cubs from 2000 to 2002. It’s worth re-reading Michael Hall’s 2000 profile of Baylor for Texas Monthly, when he first started the manager gig for the Cubs.
Johnny Manziel may yet have a future in football—just not on the part of the field where he originally planned. According to ESPN, the former Texas A&M star who was accused of domestic violence by his former girlfriend last year still hopes to play quarterback for an NFL team, but if his behavior off the field has left him locked out of the league, he’d consider retooling as a coach at the college level. “I’d do something involved with sports. I can’t get away from it,” Manziel said recently at the International Football Betting Conference in Costa Rica. “I’ve had to ask myself that a little bit as of late over the past year, but at the same time I’d want to be involved in sports in some way, whether it’s coaching, whether it’s doing something like that. So I think that’d be my route.” When asked where he might want to coach, Manziel responded, “probably college.” Manziel also said he’s looked into playing in the Canadian Football League. He hasn’t played professional football since he was released by the Cleveland Browns last year.
The star of ABC’s The Bachelorette, Dallas’s own Rachel Lindsay, picked her suitor in the reality TV show’s final episode, which aired on Monday. As the Dallas Morning News notes, it took Lindsay “two reality TV series, 24 episodes and 32 men” to find love. Is that a lot? A little? Who knows. Lindsay, an attorney in Dallas, chose Bryan Abasolo, a square-jawed chiropractor, over squarer-jawed personal trainer Eric Bigger and squarest-jawed businessman Peter Kraus. For those of you who remain blissfully ignorant to the cult of The Bachelorette, the TV show is basically a dating competition in which a bunch of guys vie to win the love of a single lady, whose dating options suddenly go from “plenty of fish in the sea” to “a few dozen fish in, like, a small lake,” for the sake of our entertainment. But this season sort of tackled issues outside of love too. Lindsay made headlines by being the show’s first-ever African-American bachelorette, and racial conflict popped up pretty often during this season.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Inside Dallas’s domestic violence shelter for men, which is one of just two in the nation Dallas Morning News
The mother of an eight-year-old girl with cancer faces deportation in El Paso El Paso Times
Pretty much every Texan in Congress penned a letter eerily similar to one written by airline lobbyists Politico
Dallas city managers got brand-spanking-new offices, while police and fire stations remain in disrepair WFAA
Typhus is coming back in Texas Houston Chronicle