OGDEN — The Weber State University professor who recently came under fire for a series of threatening tweets related to ongoing, nationwide protests says he regrets his actions and has resigned from his teaching position.
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.
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.”
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.
“Those are my tweets but I don’t stand by them and will have to suffer the consequences of my recklessness,” Senjo said in an email to the Standard-Examiner. “I made those tweets in the sordid atmosphere of Twitter knife fights where sarcastic put downs and tasteless humor are often the norm. I failed to respect my role as a college professor in the hyper-emotional atmosphere of the recent police brutality protests. I apologize for my Twitter contributions. In the aggregate, they reflect a great deal of ugliness.”
Senjo also told the Standard-Examiner he was asked to resign by the school and agreed to do so, effective immediately. The former professor said he had been engaged in “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,” he said.
The university released a statement Wednesday morning, saying Senjo had been placed on paid leave June 2, but was not asked to resign.
According to the WSU statement, Senjo sent an email to his department chair and college dean on June 3, saying, “I studied the situation and the public fury is too great. I have to resign immediately. There’s no other option.”
WSU’s statement goes on to say Senjo’s posts were “hurtful and inconsistent with the values of Weber State University and our work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment.”
The school says it remains “committed to creating a campus environment where all are welcome, heard, valued and supported.”
Senjo began teaching at WSU in 2000.