Utah professor resigns after ‘abhorrent’ tweets following death of George Floyd
WEBER COUNTY, Utah (Gephardt Daily) — Weber State University professor Scott Senjo has resigned following tweets about the death of George Floyd that officials described as “abhorrent.”
Senjo, a criminal justice professor who taught at WSU for some 20 years, sent the following email statement to Gephardt Daily Wednesday morning:
“The university has ordered me to resign my position due to my irresponsible tweeting activity over the last several months. I agree that my tweets were far beyond the realm of acceptable university policy as well as acceptable social norms. I made those tweets in the oftentimes vulgar, extreme back-and-forth that can occur on Twitter and they were simply wrong. I apologize for my irresponsible behavior and resign my position, effective immediately.”
WSU officials said on Tuesday that the “abhorrent” social media posts were under investigation. On Wednesday, the university issued a statement that reads, in part: “Criminal justice professor Scott Senjo has tendered his resignation, effective immediately.”
Senjo posted a series of tweets after the death of George Floyd on May 25 sparked heated protests across the country when video emerged that shows the unarmed 46-year-old black man handcuffed and on the ground saying, “I can’t breathe,” as a Minneapolis police officer held him down with a knee on his neck. Floyd had been arrested outside a deli on suspicion of forgery. He died later at a hospital.
Senjo responded to a tweet by Wall Street Journal reporter Tyler Blint-Welsh, who tweeted that he lost his glasses and his ankle “was in searing pain” after NYPD officers hit him in the face multiple times with riot shields and pushed him to the ground, even though he was wearing press credentials and holding his hands up.
Senjo, whose Twitter handle is @ProfSenjo, responded: “Excellent. If I was the cop, you wouldn’t be able to tweet.”
In another tweet, Senjo said: “Nothing about this makes me happy but there’s this tiny sense of rightness in the burning of the CNN headquarters.”
Still another tweet said: “Come by my neighborhood. I won’t just display firearms, I’ll show you how they work.”
Senjo’s Twitter account has since been removed.
WSU’s statement reads, in full:
“Weber State University criminal justice professor Scott Senjo has tendered his resignation, effective immediately.
“The resignation comes days after the university was made aware of several tweets Senjo sent from his personal Twitter account that promoted violence and caused safety concerns.
“The university had placed Senjo on paid leave June 2, in order to conduct a review of the situation. The university did not ask him to resign.
“In an email sent to his department chair and college dean on June 3, Senjo wrote: ‘I studied the situation and the public fury is too great. I have to resign immediately. There’s no other option.’
“The Twitter posts in question were hurtful and inconsistent with the values of Weber State University and our work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment. We know the views expressed in these tweets make many of our students and members of our campus community feel isolated or unsupported.
“We appreciate the outpouring of emails and social media posts from our students, alumni and colleagues who shared their concerns.
“We remain committed to creating a campus environment where all are welcome, heard, valued and supported.”
A Change.org petition was started Sunday to demand that Senjo be removed from his position at WSU. A total of 2,320 people have signed that petition.
The petition states: “Weber State University has a long standing tradition of embracing freedom of speech and diversity of opinion. Professor Senjo’s tweets do not represent these values. His tweets go against freedom of speech and diversity of opinion as he is pushing for violence against press, as well as people of color. Criminal justice students at Weber deserve better. Students of color at Weber deserve better. This is a call for Weber State University to do better and be better by firing Scott Senjo.”