Old Dominion University has taken action against a professor who made comments that attempted to normalize “minor-attracted persons” – or as the criminal justice system refers to the behavior – pedophilia.
“Old Dominion University has placed Dr. Allyn Walker on administrative leave, effective immediately, from their position as assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice,” Amber Kennedy, a spokesperson for the university, said in a statement on Tuesday evening.
The non-binary professor’s comments sparked widespread outrage across the nation and on campus.
“I was very surprised and shocked. I actually didn’t believe it until I saw it on Twitter,” College Republicans president Andrew Lambakis told television station WVEC. “I’m actually thinking about planning a peaceful protest against Allyn Walker.”
Walker is an associate professors of sociology and criminal justice at the taxpayer-funded university.
“Reactions to Dr. Walker’s research and book have led to concerns for their safety and that of the campus,” Kennedy added. “Furthermore, the controversy over Dr. Walker’s research has disrupted the campus and community environment and is interfering with the institution’s mission of teaching and learning.”
The university president also released a statement condemning child sexual abuse.
“I want to state in the strongest terms possible that child sexual abuse is morally wrong and has no place in our society,” ODU President Brian O. Hemphill said. “This is a challenging time for our University, but I am confident that we will come together and move forward as a Monarch family.”
The leave announcement followed an earlier statement in which the university said it does not “promote crimes against children.”
“Following recent social media activity and direct outreach to the institution, it is important to share that Old Dominion, as a caring and inclusive community, does not endorse or promote crimes against children or any form of criminal activity,” the statement read.