After defending its employee over the weekend, Old Dominion University (ODU) said Tuesday night that it has placed Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology Allyn Walker on leave.

“Old Dominion University has placed Dr. Allyn Walker on administrative leave, effective immediately, from their [sic] position as assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice,” the school said in a statement. “Reactions to Dr. Walker’s research and book have led to concerns for their safety and that of the campus. Furthermore, the controversy over Dr. Walker’s research has disrupted the campus and community environment.”

“The actions we are taking today are motivated by our obligation to maintain a safe and conducive learning environment for our students, faculty, and staff,” the statement continued.

But Saturday, ODU defended the professor.

“An academic community plays a valuable role in the quest for knowledge. A vital part of this is being willing to consider scientific and other empirical data that may involve controversial issues and perspectives,” it said at the time, noting that is does not support sex abuse against children.

It did not say in its Tuesday update what led the school to decide that Walker is concern for campus safety, but once again condemned child sex abuse, though Daily Mail reported that a petition demanded Walker be removed had garnered more than 3,000 signatures.

“I want to state in the strongest terms possible that child sexual abuse is morally wrong and has no place in our society,” said ODU President Brian O. Hemphill, said in the Tuesday statement. “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 controversy stems from Walker’s recent interview with Protasia, a nonprofit that has been accused of supporting pedophilia.

During that interview, Walker, who is transgender, said that pedophilia should be rebranded as “minor attraction,” in order to destigmatize pedophilia.

Walker said “… I think it’s important to use terminology for groups that members of that group want others to use for them,” and that “MAP advocacy groups like B4U-Act have advocated for use of the term, and they’ve advocated for it primarily because it’s less stigmatizing than other terms like pedophile.”

MAP stands for “Minor Attracted Person,” and many believe that the MAP movement is meant to eventually make pedophilia a sexual preference on the LGBT spectrum.

“Although I’m not a MAP, myself, I am queer, and so I too, have been through experiences and realized that I have attractions many people wouldn’t understand, and that some people find to be immoral,” Walker said later in the Protasia interview. “And those experiences have really shaped who I’ve become. And so I sort of empathize with those experiences, and I wanted to learn more.”

Walker also recently published a book called “A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity.”

– – –

Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Allyn Walker” by Protasia Foundation.