OGDEN — Weber State University officials are investigating a series of provocative tweets posted by one of the school’s criminal justice professors after violent protests erupted across the United States.
Over the weekend, WSU Department of Criminal Justice professor Scott 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.
Protests in response to the death of George Floyd, who was killed May 25 in Minneapolis, have occurred all over the country. Several of the protests, including one in Salt Lake City, have turned violent, with assailants burning police cars, damaging storefronts and more.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who subdued Floyd by kneeling on his neck, was fired by the department after the incident and later charged with murder and manslaughter, according to The Associated Press.
Another one of the posts by Senjo retweeted the account of Wall Street Journal reporter Tyler Blint-Welsh.
“Lost my glasses and my ankle is in searing pain after NYPD hit me in the face multiple times with riot shields and pushed me to the ground,” Blint-Welsh’s tweet reads. “I was backing away as request (sic), with my hands up. My NYPD-issued press badge was clearly visible. I’m just sitting here crying. This sucks.”
To which Senjo responded, “Excellent. If I was the cop, you wouldn’t be able to tweet.”
Excellent. If I was the cop, you wouldn’t be able to tweet.— Scott Senjo (@ProfSenjo) June 1, 2020
WSU spokeswoman Allison Hess said the university is investigating the tweets. The university issued a statement on the matter.
“We are aware of Twitter comments posted by a member of our faculty,” the statement reads. “Weber State University does not condone violence or threats of violence under any circumstance. The comments made by our faculty member are hurtful and inconsistent with the values of Weber State University and our work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment. We join with our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who found these comments to be abhorrent.”
The statement goes on to say that the university honors the First Amendment rights of free speech, free press and peaceable assembly.
“We strongly urge all members of the campus community to proclaim and practice those rights to help restore calm and allow all voices to be safely heard during this time of national discord,” the statement says.
WSU says the matter, in its complete context, will be reviewed further to “make sure all perspectives are equally and fairly represented.”
The Standard-Examiner reached out to Senjo by phone and email on Monday but did not receive a response by the time of this writing.
While not addressing the Senjo incident specifically, WSU President Brad Mortensen released a lengthy statement Monday as well, saying the death of Floyd has “ignited anger, outrage and fear.” Mortensen said the subsequent events around the county have expedited the need to “do more and be better about erasing the inequities in our society — not just in this moment but in all moments.”
Mortensen pledged that the school would be a vehicle for “thoughtful dialogues to examine our own attitudes and actions.”