An adjunct professor at Utah Valley University has quit after facing criticism for sharing his experience of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with students this week in an online post that ended with him declaring he is “very opposed” to Muslims immigrating to the U.S. because “they hate us and always will.”
The Orem school’s administration learned of the statement hours after it was sent out Tuesday evening when a student reported it to the chair of the School of Aviation Sciences. By Wednesday night, James Green “voluntarily resigned,” said university spokesman Scott Trotter, and the comment had been removed from the course website.
Green started his post — on the 17th anniversary of 9/11 — by saying he wanted to tell students what he saw of the 2001 attack while living in Manhattan and working as a pilot for Continental Airlines. He and his wife, he wrote, walked onto the roof of their building and watched one of the Twin Towers collapse, according to a copy the concerned student shared with The Salt Lake Tribune.
The couple then went to a local church, Green recounted, to assist survivors. He said he later pushed for pilots to be able to carry a gun in the cockpit and did so himself until he retired.
“It was a sad time for our country and made me wonder ‘how’ could people harbor so much hatred toward anyone that they would perpetrate such a horrendous act of violence,” he said.
He ended the post: “That's my story about the 9/11 events. And it is also why I am ‘very’ opposed to allowing any Muslims to immigrate into the USA! They hate us and always will.”
In a brief phone conversation with The Tribune, Green said he’s no longer at the university before adding he had “no comment.” His LinkedIn page lists his current job at aviation director at the American International Aviation Academy of Utah.
Utah Valley University said in a statement that it has referred the matter to its Equal Opportunity/Title IX Office for review and “appropriate action.”
“One of the university’s core themes is inclusivity, and we value the richness that comes from diversity,” the statement says. “We seek genuine inclusion to create a safe and supportive environment for all, and believe that diversity is an essential element of UVU’s mission and of excellence, and that intolerance inhibits progress. We remain committed to our anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.”
Green’s comments echo similar anti-Muslim rhetoric from President Donald Trump. During his campaign, Trump said during on interview on CNN, “I think Islam hates us.” He also claimed that “thousands and thousands” of Arab-Americans living in New Jersey cheered when the World Trade Center collapsed.
The president, too, has pushed to impose a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries during his time in office.
Utah’s political leaders have been far more welcoming of Muslims, including Muslim immigrants. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has said: “Utah has always been a very welcoming state for refugees, for immigrants. We appreciate the diversity they bring, and certainly they are part of the fabric of our state.”
Derrek Studebaker, a junior in aviation, said he reported Green's post to administrators because "it's not acceptable language."
"He should be held responsible for promoting an unsafe learning environment," the student said. “You really can’t say that, especially as a professor for a public institution.”
Studebaker sent a message to Randy Johnson, the aviation department’s chairman, after Green sent out the statement. Johnson, who did not return requests for comment Thursday, said he appreciated Studebaker’s observations and said, “I want you to know we take them seriously.”
David McEntire, the dean of the College of Health and Public Service, also sent Studebaker an email, saying he was "very concerned about the statement" and apologized "that this has occurred."
Green posted the comments at 7:31 p.m. About three minutes later, he emailed students directly with the text — leaving out the last two lines about Muslims.
On Thursday morning, the students in the crew resource management class received a message letting them know that a new instructor would take over the course.
Green has previously come under fire for a letter he wrote to The Park Record in February 2017. Then the vice-chairman of the Wasatch County Republican Party, Green suggested that paying women the same as men would make it so male salaries decreased.
Men, he said, "need to make enough to support their families and allow the Mother to remain in the home to raise and nurture the children. If businesses are forced to pay women the same as male earnings, that means they will have to reduce the pay for the men they employ, simple economics."
UVU Review, the university’s student newspaper, was the first to point out the connection to Green and that letter. He faced swift and severe backlash then, too.