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Penn State professor found not guilty for physical altercation with counterprotestor 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.

A Penn State assistant professor charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment after allegedly getting into a physical altercation with a counter protester was found not guilty Monday.

Walter Oliver Baker, assistant professor of English and African American studies, was charged on Sept. 7 after he allegedly engaged in an altercation during the second vaccination mandate rally held by Penn State’s Coalition for a Just University on Aug. 27.

Baker was found not guilty under the Honorable Steven Frederic Lachman on one count of harassment. The other two charges of disorderly conduct and simple assault were previously withdrawn, according to court documents.

According to court documents, Baker entered a not guilty plea on Oct. 7.

According to university spokesperson Wyatt DuBois, Baker was placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

University spokeswoman Lisa Powers said via email Monday Baker remains on administrative leave while internal processes are concluded.

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