OGDEN — The Weber State University professor who recently came under fire after a series of threatening tweets related to nationwide protests about race and police use of force has officially resigned.
After former WSU Criminal Justice professor Scott Senjo's biography and photograph conspicuously disappeared from WSU's website, the university confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he was no longer employed at the school.
"Weber State University can confirm that criminal justice professor Scott Senjo has permanently separated from the university after resigning," reads a statement WSU emailed to the Standard-Examiner. "He is no longer employed. The university considers this matter resolved, ending processes that were set in motion on June 1."
Senjo resigned and then subsequently rescinded the resignation earlier this month after a series of controversial Twitter posts he made during nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd.
Floyd's May 25 death at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has sparked protests all over the country. Chauvin, who killed Floyd by handcuffing him and kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes, was ultimately charged with murder and manslaughter. In the immediate days following Floyd's death, several of the protests, including one in Salt Lake City, turned violent.
During those early protests, Senjo made several tweets which, among other things, applauded damage done by rioters to the CNN headquarters building and mused about violently attacking journalists.
“Nothing about this makes me happy but there’s this tiny sense of rightness in the burning of the CNN headquarters,” reads one of Senjo’s tweets. The Georgia-based cable news network’s headquarters building in Atlanta was damaged Friday, May 29, during riots in the city.
In another tweet responding to the account of a New York City journalist who said he was injured by police during a protest, Senjo wrote, “Excellent. If I was the cop, you wouldn’t be able to tweet.”
Senjo expressed remorse for his tweets after they came to light, saying he didn’t stand by them and that they were made in the “sordid atmosphere of Twitter knife fights where sarcastic put downs and tasteless humor are often the norm.”
On June 3, Senjo announced he would resign amid the controversy, but later changed his mind. On June 16, WSU confirmed Senjo had rescinded his resignation and officials at the school said university policy allows tenured faculty members five business days to rescind a resignation. After Senjo's change of mind, the school placed him back on leave, while conducting a review of the situation.
The school has condemned Senjo's tweets from the outset, but did take some criticism for its handling of the situation from groups on both sides of the issue.
"The developments surrounding this case have understandably caused a variety of emotions for many members of our campus community," the Tuesday WSU statement reads. "Weber State University is committed to improving our campus culture and our conduct, making our university a place where everyone truly feels valued, supported and included."
University President Brad Mortensen released a separate statement Tuesday afternoon, which was addressed to students, faculty and staff.
"We are an institution of higher education," Mortensen said. "We strive to create a diverse and inclusive university where all feel welcome. We condemn language that promotes violence, diminishes individuals or makes people feel unsafe. At the same time, we value an individual’s right to freedom of expression whether or not we agree with perspectives they share."
Mortensen asked members of the WSU community to use the incident to "reflect on what we can learn from one another, and how we can all make a difference in the lives of others."
Standard-Examiner reporter Patrick Carr contributed to this report.