On the most recent episode of “Saturday Night Live,” which aired on Nov. 20, a photo of Ayres Hall was used in a graphic as the hosts of the “Weekend Update” segment parodied a controversy surrounding a professor at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia.
The photo of UT’s most recognizable building appeared next to host Colin Jost as he joked about the work of Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice Allyn Walker, who suggests the use of the term “minor-attracted people” and has argued that it is not wrong to experience attraction to underage children, “as long as it isn’t acted on.”
On Nov. 17, ODU placed Walker, a non-binary, transgender professor, on leave amid fear for campus safety following vocal protests from students and community members who worry Walker’s research destigmatizes sex offenders. Walker has said that their work is being misrepresented in “right-wing media.”
SNL is not considered right-wing media, and yet the controversy became fodder for a joke on “Weekend Update,” complete with a borrowed photo from the wrong campus.
“A professor at a college in Virginia is being criticized after saying that it is not immoral for adults to be sexually attracted to children. Find out why in his new book, ‘Wait! Hold On! Hear Me Out,'” Jost said.
The photo of Ayres Hall appears as a common stock image of a college building, which may explain its use in a segment about an unrelated college.