A professor of theology at Grand Canyon University, a Christian institution, has been suspended after saying some members of the Black Lives Matter movement should be hanged, reports The Arizona Republic.
The professor, Toby Jennings, made the remarks in a September 2016 seminar discussion titled “God’s Concern for the Poor: What’s Missing in Social Justice?” He has since apologized for his comments.
“Particularly, I have inexcusably offended many fellow image bearers of God by my imprudent use of inappropriate, uncharitable, and incendiary language,” Mr. Jennings said in a written statement. “Not only does my communicated sentiment not reflect my personal and more thoughtful disposition toward any and all priceless treasures who bear the image of my heavenly Father, but my impassioned choice of words certainly does not reflect the pathos, practice, and vision of Grand Canyon University.”
The institution, which has nearly 70,000 students and is the second-largest for-profit college among two- and four-year institutions in the United States, also distanced itself from the professor’s remarks in a statement this month.
“The reprehensible rhetoric in this statement is unacceptable, and the university condemns it in the strongest terms,” the statement says. “The university wants to be clear that the professor’s rhetoric in no way reflects the heart of this university or its dedicated students, faculty, and staff.”
Mr. Jennings will be suspended through at least the fall semester.
The seminar took place nearly a year ago, but the Republic reported that university administrators had learned of Mr. Jennings’s remarks only after local leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People raised concerns this month. According to a transcript provided by Grand Canyon, Mr. Jennings said some members of Black Lives Matter were “very gracious and discerning and conversationally, dynamically dialoguing about the issue.”
“And then you have people on the opposite extreme of that that frankly should be hung. And, yes, I did say that on video,” he said.
Bob Romantic, a spokesman for Grand Canyon, said that the institution’s review of the incident is continuing and that investigators will speak to students who were in Mr. Jennings’s class as well as those who attended the seminar. A Twitter message sent to Mr. Jennings wasn’t immediately returned on Wednesday afternoon.