Old Dominion University professors have stepped down as assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at the school following comments that sought to generalize the phrase “minor-attracted persons.”
Brian O. Hemphill, the school’s president, said in a statement Wednesday that the university’s top priorities are to foster a “caring, inclusive and supportive community” that respects academic freedom and shifts away from controversial issues.
Earlier this month, Alin Walker’s research caught the attention of some media outlets – and professors accepted the threats, saying law enforcement managers should be taken seriously, university officials said.
An online petition calling for Walker’s removal has received nearly 15,000 signatures. It referred to the use of the word Walker, “minor attracted persons,” and “(w) would like to make it clear that pedophilia and sexual preference should not be considered.”
Walker Said in an Nov. 8 interview People may be attracted to children without acting on it.
“It’s less stigmatizing than other words, such as pedophiles,” Walker said in an interview with the Prostasia Foundation. “When they hear the word pedophile, they automatically think it’s a sex offender. And that’s not true. And that leads to a lot of misconceptions about attractions toward minors.”
Said Walker Statement His scholarship is “aimed at preventing child sexual abuse.”
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“That research was misrepresented in the media and online, in part because of my trans identity. As a result, many threats were made against me and the campus community in general. I would like to thank Old Dominion University for giving me the opportunity. ODU Department of Public Safety to oversee, ”Walker said in a statement.
LBL Emma Colton and the Associated Press contributed to this report