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Weber State University

WSU professor who posted 'abhorrent' tweets about George Floyd protests rescinds resignation

By Lauren Bennett, KSL.com | Updated - Jun. 16, 2020 at 7:17 p.m. | Posted - Jun. 16, 2020 at 5:27 p.m.



OGDEN — A Weber State University professor who resigned earlier this month after tweeting what school officials called “abhorrent” things in the wake of George Floyd’s death has rescinded that resignation, school officials confirmed Tuesday.

Scott Senjo, a tenured criminal justice professor at WSU for 20 years, sent several now-deleted tweets about the protests in response to Floyd’s death.

Floyd, a black man, died after police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee onto Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes.

One of Senjo’s tweets was a reply to a Wall Street Journal reporter who said he was injured in a confrontation with New York City police, despite wearing a press credential and holding his hands up.

“Excellent. If I was the cop, you wouldn’t be able to tweet,” he wrote online.

In another tweet, Senjo replied to a video of a New York Police Department car driving into a crowd of protesters. “That’s not how I would have driven the car into the crowd,” he wrote.

Senjo resigned on June 3 after being placed on paid leave while the university conducted a review of his actions.

Following the initial resignation, Senjo said in a statement he agreed his tweets went too far.

"I agree that my tweets were far beyond the realm of acceptable university policy as well as acceptable social norms,” he wrote. “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."

More than 2,400 people signed a petition that asked for his removal.

In an email sent to faculty, staff and students on Tuesday, Weber State University President Brad Mortensen announced the news and said he values “safety for our WSU family.”

“I recognize that this development will confuse and upset many members of our greater campus community, and understandably so,” Mortensen wrote. “Because this case continues to evolve over time, we will not be updating individuals at every stage. The sentiment in those tweets is abhorrent, and we strongly condemn it.”

He further explained a tenured faculty member has five business days to withdraw a resignation, in accordance with university policies.

Senjo remained on administrative leave as of Tuesday, and the university is conducting a “review of the impact of his Tweets on university operations.”

Mortensen said he acknowledges “the fear, disruption, and threat to personal safety that many have shared.”

“Language that promotes violence, diminishes individuals or makes people feel unsafe undermines our desire to create a diverse and inclusive environment where all feel welcome,” he continued.

He directed students, faculty and staff to use the Safe@Weber website, which offers safety resources to those on campus.

However, he added that he values a person’s right to express their opinions even when others disagree.

“We also value due process and an individual’s right to freedom of expression for all members of our community whether or not we agree with perspectives they share,” the email read. “These values are not intended to conflict; however, in this instance, it certainly feels that they do for many members of our community, and I want you to know that we hear you.”

The email also states it is standard university practice to not comment on personnel matters, disciplinary actions, ongoing investigations or pending litigation, however, "the exception to that rule is when the individual involved shares information with the media that can reasonably be corrected or the university is asked to confirm a matter of public record."

Senjo could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Contributing: Marjorie Cortez, KSL

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