A North Texas lawmaker has introduced a bill that would make it more difficult for students accused of sexual assault -- like ex-Baylor fraternity president Jacob Anderson -- to transfer quietly to another university.
State Representative Chris Turner, a Democrat from Arlington, filed House Bill 449 earlier this month for consideration during the upcoming legislative session.
It would require all colleges and universities in Texas -- both public and private -- to make a disciplinary note on a student's transcript if he or she is suspended or expelled from school.
That way, if the student tries to transfer, any other school could see that information as they consider whether to admit the student.
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Anderson withdrew from Baylor shortly after he was accused of raping a female student at an off-campus party in 2016. The university later expelled him after conducting their own investigation into the matter.
Anderson, however, was able to transfer to UT-Dallas and was set to graduate this year.
UTD released a statement earlier this week saying they were unaware of his legal history when they admitted him. They also announced he would not be allowed to participate in the university's upcoming graduation ceremony or be allowed back on campus.
There are currently no requirements in place for schools to add disciplinary notes to student transcripts -- so while a handful, like the University of Texas System, already do that on their own, many do not.
Turner's office notes he's been working on this legislation for several years, so it's not just in reaction to the Anderson story. But they said the highly-public case shines a bright light on the very problem they're trying to fix.
In a written statement to NBC 5, Turner said:
"Texas must do more to protect college students from sexual assault. The Anderson case is 'Exhibit A' of why my bill would be beneficial to universities and students. It's important that in instances where a student is expelled or suspended, or in this case, withdrew from a university as a result of a sexual assault allegation, that the school that the student transfers to is aware of those circumstances. Transcript notations are already in use at many of our state's largest universities. This measure would simply ensure a uniform policy aimed at protecting all college students in Texas."
The bill does allow for students to request that the disciplinary note be removed from their transcript, if they meet certain conditions.
It would also require colleges and universities to complete investigations into student conduct -- even if the student withdraws -- to determine whether they would have been suspended or expelled, in which case they would have to make a note on that student's transcript.