Request to Expel Jakob Wissel from Stetson University College of Law

Request to Expel Jakob Wissel from Stetson University College of Law

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Krista Haraway started this petition to Stetson University College of Law Dean Michèle Alexandre

To: Dean Michèle Alexandre and the Stetson University College of Law
From: The Concerned Members of the Stetson Community*

When we chose to apply to Stetson Law, we identified with Stetson's mission statement and core values. When we accepted our seats, we decided to become a part of the reputation to uphold them. But in light of the information about Jakob Wissel surfacing on social media, and his continued presence within the Stetson Law community, we can no longer be proud of our decision if Stetson continues their investigation without more urgency and transparency.

We were disappointed to discover the issue passively through social media—two days after it was posted—rather than immediately, through direct correspondence from the College of Law. There have been no updates about Stetson's investigation into the issue, nor a tentative plan to remedy the matter once the investigation is complete.

We** fear that without a swift, “no tolerance” approach to racially charged hate speech, Stetson is grievously deviating from the College of Law’s mission statement to “…provide a dynamic and supportive scholarly community in which students learn, in and outside the classroom and by example, to become outstanding lawyers and leaders who serve the profession and society.”

Further, we believe Jakob Wissel's actions to be in violation of Stetson Law's Code of Student Professionalism and Conduct, which states that "students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that supports the College of Law's educational mission...[by] acting in a professional, dignified, and respectful manner."

We hoped the video evidence of Jakob Wissel’s racist remarks and the subsequent rape allegations would be enough for the College of Law to take swift action to remove him from our student body, but we remain in the dark as to why he is still a part of our community. As prospective students, we look to you for guidance to remedy injustices such as these through the application of the law.

We believe if Jakob Wissel is allowed to continue his legal studies, his presence will become a declaration of white privilege, courtesy of Stetson University College of Law, that seeks to perpetuate the systemic racism that has plagued our justice system since its inception. Jakob Wissel is already a direct threat to the integrity of the College of Law and its students.

We believe, if Jakob Wissel is allowed to practice law, his racial bias will lower the moral and ethical standards the legal profession swears to uphold; he will fuel the same, hateful forces that took George Floyd’s last breath; he will perpetuate the illegal procedures that ended Breonna Taylor’s life; and he will only add to the deafening roar of those attempting to silence the Black Lives Matter movement and people of color across the nation.

We request that Stetson act immediately to:

1. Expel Jakob Wissel from the College of Law;

2. Publicly denounce Jakob Wissel’s behavior and his affiliation with the Stetson community by name on all of Stetson’s official platforms and social media accounts;

3. Adopt direct, transparent, and timely correspondence to inform the student body as to the exact policies and procedures governing this issue to eliminate confusion;

4. Implement this direct, transparent method of communication to inform the student body as to where the College of Law stands during each step of this process;

5. And coordinate efforts with the Law School Admissions Council to raise awareness about the dangers that blatant racism can bring to the law school classroom and the legal community at large.


The Concerned Members of the Stetson Community*

*The petition's audience was expanded to include the entire Stetson community; originally it was written on behalf of the incoming class of 2023 and received nine signatures. On July 01, 2020, two deans of Stetson Law addressed part of our requests to a portion of the incoming class of 2023 during an online workshop. We were told that Stetson Law was gathering evidence from an investigator, and claimed the school was being as transparent as allowed by FERPA and guidelines set forth by the School of Law. Our requests have still all been largely unmet.

**We refers to the incoming students; an upperclassmen at Stetson discovered the original video and notified the school.

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