GLENDALE, Ariz. - Civil rights leaders want a Grand Canyon University theology professor fired for his comments about Black Lives Matter nearly a year ago.

Dr. Toby Jennings spoke at a theology conference in September 2016. An audience member asked him about Black Lives Matter. Jennings said some in the movement are willing to listen and have a civil dialogue.

"They're wanting to hear what somebody else has to say about it," Jennings said, "and you have people on the opposite extreme of that that frankly should be hung."

There were gasps in the audience and Jennings, who is African-American, clarified his comment.

"That kind of rhetoric is not helpful to any conversation and that's what I mean by they should be hung," Jennings said.

GCU said Friday that Jennings had been spoken to after the event, but that no one notified the upper administration at the time.

"I know some of these gentlemen," GCU Honor's College Dean Antionette Farmer-Thompson said, "so why I did not receive a call, I don't know."

Friday, civil rights leaders criticized the university for what they said was a culture that fostered discrimination and devalued "blackness".

"Before I saw the video, I thought it was a white man," Pastor Warren Stewart, Jr. said. "It's self-hate, it's a Willie Lynch syndrome, it's a mindset of devaluing your own culture."

GCU said it has apologized to Black Lives Matter and has met with the group privately.

Jennings is currently suspended.