Now that 20-year-old Alexis Simpson, who plunged a knife into the neck of a roommate in September of 2011, has been acquitted of all charges, will she be welcomed back onto the campus of Bowie State University? Maybe.
"I think there are some issues that she would still have to resolve with the university regarding the behavior that led up to this trial," explained university spokeswoman Cassandra Robinson. "So, that would still have to be addressed by the university."
The incident happened in a campus dormitory. The victim was 18-year-old Dominique Frazier.
Simpson's defense attorneys successfully argued: a dormitory fight pushed Alexis Simpson into believing she was in danger from Frazier and her girlfriends.
The Thursday night acquittal on all counts was certainly the talk of the campus, Friday. "It's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram," observed senior Diego Allen, shaking his head.
Several students said they felt conflicted about the not guilty verdicts. Sophomore Brina Burney said she believed both parties were in the wrong, and perhaps the jury should have found some degree of culpability for Simpson, but "not murder."
Senior Kendall Robinson also felt conflicted: "Apparently you would have [Simpson] complaining about the bullying. And you have the opposite side saying, 'Well, she killed somebody in the heat of action.'"
Among the students with whom we spoke, most said they would advise Alexis Simpson against re-enrolling at Bowie State, but stressed it would be Simpson's decision. "I think she should be allowed to come back because she was found not guilty," declared Christia'n Smith, who is a sophomore.
The university would not disclose Simpson's current status.
Spokeswoman Robinson said Bowie State's community remains saddened by the stabbing death, but she noted that students and faculty have been discussing the topics of non-violence and civility more often than they used to.