A Long Island professor who made an unfunny, ill-considered and most relevantly, unluckily timed joke about the shootings in Aurora, Colorado may lose his job after it turns out a son of the man killed in the tragedy happened to be in his classroom at the time of the inopportune wisecracking.
According to the New York Times, the professor facing firing over the Aurora shootings joke was showing his class a documentary 11 days after the deadly incident in a Colorado theater. Prof. Gregory F. Sullivan lowered the lights, and preparing to step out of the classroom at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, Sullivan is said to have joked:
“If someone with orange hair appears in the corner of the room… run for the exit.”
In other settings, it would have been a cringe-worthy and tone-deaf attempt to be topical, but due to the circumstances, it turned out to be far more troublesome.
The paper obtained a “notice of proposed removal” in regards to the potential firing of the tenured professor, and describes why the institution and its administrative faculty feels that the offense warrants termination:
“But the notice said that Professor Sullivan ‘reasonably should have been aware’ of the student’s loss, because the academy had sent out an academywide e-mail about it on July 25, because that student had been absent from Professor Sullivan’s course for several days and because the professor had given two other students permission to miss class so that they could attend a funeral.”
Dean Shashi Kumar wrote that he finds “there is no lesser sanction to effectively address this misconduct.” The professor who may be fired over the Aurora shootings joke has ten days to contest the dismissal. Do you believe that the professor should be fired over the insensitivity and poor judgment he displayed?