A United States Merchant Marine Academy professor faces dismissal for joking about the Colorado movie theater shootings in front of his students.
A student's father was among the victims.
The New York Times says Gregory F. Sullivan has been suspended from his tenured position as humanities instructor.
The newspaper says the academy on Kings Point, Long Island, informed Sullivan on Aug. 10 that he had 10 days to contest his dismissal.
According to an internal personnel document, Sullivan told the class: "If someone with orange hair appears in the corner of the room, run for the exit." He had just turned down the lights to show a documentary.
Colorado suspect James Holmes has dyed orange hair.
Sullivan apologized to the students and faculty. He declined to comment to The Times.