Protest want UT Professor fired after Felony Conviction

The protest, Tuesday, began at the U.T. School of Pharmacy and then moved to the Clock Tower.

Most who took part were not students of the Pharmacy School but their focus was Pharmacy professor, Dr. Richard Morrisett. The group believes school administrators are protecting him and described Morrisett as a threat to their own safety.

"At the very least, he needs to be fired, that’s the very least that should happen to people like him,” said UT student Jasmine Bell.

Richard Morrisett was arrested in 2016 on an assault-family violence charge. According to court documents his girlfriend claimed Morrisett attacked and choked her during a heated argument for refusing to leave his home.

In 2017, Morrisett plead guilty to the assault charge and was sentenced to 4 years probation. The plea avoided a jury trial and also prompted the dismissal of two additional charges he was facing in connection to the original incident.

The U.T.  also did a separate review. A statement about the review was sent to FOX 7:

"The university took, and continues to take, Dr. Morrisett’s criminal behavior very seriously and investigated it immediately in 2016. Reviewers, who interviewed people who work closely with Dr. Morrisett, examined whether his actions posed a danger to others on campus and whether there was a relationship between his criminal behavior and professional responsibilities.  The reviewers found no such relationship, and Dr. Morrisett was allowed to return to his teaching and lab activities. He is being punished by the criminal justice system. The University is monitoring him during probation to make sure he meets all the conditions and is not accused of other criminal behavior."

SHILPA BAKRE, MPaff | Communications Strategist
University Communications The University of Texas at Austin

It was concluded Morrisett could stay on the job and that the proper punishment was set by the criminal justice system. It’s a decision Austin Smith, a Junior Government & Economics Major, disagrees with.

"There is a power dynamic that isn't there in other forms of employment, so I don’t think, I understand what you are saying, but with this situation, especially we are allowing him to stay in a position where he has power over people, power over specifically women, and he has demonstrated before he doesn’t have, respect women enough to keep his hands off of them,” said Smith.

The University promises to continue to monitor Morrisett during his probation.  There are several conditions to Morrisett's probation. The court ordered him to attend a family violence class. To undergo counseling and to have no contact with his ex-girlfriend.

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