A tenured humanities professor at a United States Service academy on Long Island has been suspended with pay and faces the possibility of termination in the aftermath of an Aurora massacre joke he made during class.

According to an internal personnel document obtained by the New York Times, Prof. Gregory F. Sullivan had put on a documentary and was about to leave the room when he turned to the class and said, "If someone with orange hair appears in the corner of the room, run for the exit."

The matter would likely be less serious were it not for the fact that one of Prof. Sullivan's students at the United States Merchant Marine Academy happens to be the son of a man killed during the movie theater shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

In his "notice of proposed removal" to Prof. Sullivan, the academy's dean called the joke "notoriously disgraceful" and insisted the professor should have known better given that he was made aware of the reason for the student's recent absence.

He has been given ten days from the date of the notice (August 10th) to challenge his dismissal.

Professor Sullivan, it should be noted, promptly apologized to the student, the class, and the school's administration.

[H/T: New York Mag, photo via AP]