After facing backlash on social media, the University of Cincinnati College of Arts & Sciences redacted a portion of an online article that highlighted a registered sex offender.
“Out of sensitivity to members of our community, the original information in this article has been modified,” wrote Ken Petren, dean of A&S, in an editor’s note. “Our priority is to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students. The College of Arts and Sciences is launching a thorough review of our award processes, to be sure that we are using all of the information available to make the best choices for all of our students.”
The article, published by UC News, highlights several students who were nominated to receive “triumph cords” at graduation for overcoming adversity in their pursuit of higher education.
One of those graduates, William Houston, told UC News he overcame “immature” judgement in his late teenage years to receive his bachelor’s degree.
Houston is a registered sex offender who was suspended from Bowling Green State University in 2014 following an incident that happened at an off-campus party. He was subsequently charged with gross sexual imposition and sexual motivation.
Despite facing backlash on Facebook and Twitter, the university initially declined to alter the article. University spokesperson M.B. Reilly said Monday that the article would not be changed, citing transparency. Days later, Houston’s profile was removed from the story, and an editor’s note was issued.
The faculty nominators, student writer and editor were all unaware of Houston’s criminal history before the piece was published, Reilly said.