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Penn State police charge professor for physical altercation with counterprotester at vaccination rally

Rally to Vaccinate Penn State, campus police escort counter protester

Campus police escort a counter protester away from the Student-Faculty Rally to Vaccinate Penn State following a physical altercation with other rally attendees, outside Old Main on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021 in University Park, Pa. Following the FDA’s first vaccine approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on August 23, faculty and students called for a vaccine mandate from Penn State as other Big Ten schools implement vaccine mandates, with rallies organized by the Coalition for a Just University.

Penn State professor Walter Oliver Baker was charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and simple assault after allegedly engaging in a physical altercation with a counterprotester at 3:03 p.m. Aug. 27, according to the university crime log.

The incident allegedly occurred during the second vaccination mandate rally held by Penn State's Coalition for a Just University, and the counterprotester was escorted to an ambulance by University Police after the physical altercation.

Baker, assistant professor of English and African American studies, was charged Sept. 7 and is awaiting a preliminary hearing on Oct. 13, according to court documents. Judge Steven Lachman will hear the case.

According to university spokesperson Wyatt Dubois, Baker was placed on administrative leave by Penn State while the investigation continues. Dubois confirmed Monday the leave is paid.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated Oliver Baker was arrested. That is not true. The Daily Collegian apologizes for this error.



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