Students took to social media to express their concerns in light of news Friday that the director for the Office of Campus Ministry, the Rev. Warren Hall, had allegedly been fired from the University.
Hall announced in a tweet around 2 p.m. that he had been let go from the University “for posting a pic on (Facebook) supporting LGBT ‘NO H8.’ I’m sorry it was met with this response. I’ll miss my work here.”
Since then, a spokesman for the Archdiocese confirmed Hall’s termination.
The initial post, which has since been deleted, was met with a large reaction from the social media community, racking up over 230 retweets and 150 favorites.
There are some who believe this will reflect poorly on the University, that a priest was allegedly fired for publicly supporting anti-discrimination for LGBT people by posting a ‘NOH8’ poster on Facebook.
Student Danielle Andreani, @dcandreani, tweeted at Seton Hall, “Would you like to comment? This seems unfair. College is where students & professors can engage in meaningful topics.” SHU’s official twitter replied, “We are thankful for all the tweets. The Archdiocese of Newark appoints the director of Campus ministry at Seton Hall,” to which Andreanu replied, “And you don’t even feel bad about the shameful situation that is occurring? This looks bad for #SHU, not the Archdiocese.”
Seton Hall’s official twitter account, @SetonHall, replied to students by repeating the Archdiocese of Newark is in charge of appointing the director’s position. Tweets about the situation have since been deleted.
Student Francis Ahmed, @francecee, tweeted, “Catholicism is based on a foundation of love. Love includes acceptance and seeking to understand. Make things right @SetonHall @Warrmeister.”
Student Karly Trovarelli, @KarlyTrovarelli, tweeted, “Sad to see that @Warrmeister will no longer be at SHU for posting an article against hate. Very upset that this was SHU’s response.”
Another student, @brimcfee, simply tweeted, “Ashamed to be a Seton Hall student.”
Student Ethan Kraft, @ethan_kraft, tweeted, “Outraged at @Seton Hall for dismissing @Warrmeister. Certainly not what Christ would have wanted, and not in line with the words of @Pontifex,” later clarifying that it is “important to remember the Archdiocese of Newark is ultimately in charge of this decision, not SHU. #WeWantFatherHall.”
He created a petition on change.org, an online platform to manage a petition for change, to reinstate Fr. Hall. It received more than 450 supporters within 16 hours of being created.
Students have also shown support for some type of organized response on Facebook. A public event was created by student Marina Montenegro who felt “ashamed” as a Catholic and as a part of the LGBTQ community at the situation. The Facebook event merely shares Archbishop
Myer’s email address and invites people to voice their reactions. Within eight hours, more than 215 people expressed their support.
In a follow-up tweet, Fr. Hall expressed dismay by the situation but said “don’t be angry” and encourages people to turn this situation into an “opportunity for open/reasonable discussion on LGBT issues on a (Catholic) Campus.”
SHU alumni Michael Jacobson, @acsjacobson, tweeted, “@Warrmeister Absolutely unbelievable. Thanks for standing up for what is the right stance. I’m withholding this year’s donation to @SetonHall,” to which Fr. Hall replied, “Don’t do that! Push for more discussion/dialogue about the timely and challenging issues students should discuss.”
Spokeswoman for Seton Hall Laurie Pine repeated information from the University’s official twitter that “Seton Hall University does not comment on personnel matters. The Archbishop of Newark appoints the Director of Campus Ministry, who serves at his discretion,” according to an NJ.com article.
Fr. Hall was ordained in Newark’s Roman Catholic archdiocese in 1989. He became the Associate Director of Campus Ministry at Seton Hall in 2012 and later the director of Campus Ministry and an adjunct professor at the Department of Catholic Studies.
Emily Balan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.