Penn State Students Protest Decision To Keep Dr. Oliver Baker On Pending Dismissal
UNIVERSITY PARK - Students gather to protest against the University’s decision to keep English and African American studies faculty member, Dr. Oliver Baker, on pending dismissal.
On Aug. 27, 2021, Baker attended a rally on Old Main Lawn that was held to encourage Penn State to mandate the vaccine. A counter-protester then entered the scene, and Baker tried to stop the student’s offensive remarks before the situation escalated.
According to the criminal report, Baker tried to take the protestors sign and pulled him to the ground. Although Baker was found not guilty of the crime in court in November, the University is continuing to investigate the situation, leaving the professor on pending dismissal.
Since the University’s decision, many students and faculty have tried to fight back because they don’t believe Baker should potentially be fired.
“Professor Baker was doing his best to protect the people participating in the rally, not just so we could have the rally, but also physically protect us so that we could be safe,” David Almeida said (Professor of Human Development and Family Studies).
On the evening of Jan. 14, students and faculty gathered in front of the Allen Street Gates to support Baker.
Josh Portney, student and key witness at the event, was one of the protestors gathered at the rally last week. He mentions how he saw the situation first-hand, and that he doesn’t believe Professor Baker should be fired.
A petition made by a few passionate students entitled, “Don’t Let PSU Fire Dr. Baker!” has received over 1,000 signatures in trying to convince the University to take Baker off of pending dissimsal.
“I don’t know him personally, but I do know that he is very much appreciated by students and colleagues,” Eduardo Mendieta said after attending the rally (Professor of Philosophy and Latina/Latino Studies).
The University continues to investigate at this time, and a final decision on whether or not Professor Baker will return to the classroom is yet to be made.
Emily Grill is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com