Lawmakers want college instructor fired over 9/11 theory
by Associated Press
July 22, 2006
MADISON, Wis. — More than 60 state lawmakers are urging the University of Wisconsin-Madison to fire an instructor who has argued that the government orchestrated the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
A letter sent Thursday and signed by 52 Assembly representatives and nine state senators condemns the decision to let Kevin Barrett teach an introductory class on Islam this fall.
Pat Farrell, UW-Madison provost, launched a review after Barrett spoke last month on a talk show about his views that the terrorist attacks were the result of a government conspiracy to spark war in the Middle East. After the review, Farrell said Barrett was a qualified instructor who can present his views as one perspective on the attacks.
“I still have every expectation this will be a very positive educational experience for our students,” Farrell said Thursday. “Some are upset about Mr. Barrett’s viewpoints on 9/11 and don’t want to pay much attention to what makes for a quality educational experience.”
Representative Stephen L. Nass, a Republican, said the lawmakers’ letter, which called Barrett’s views “academically dishonest,” sends a strong message to top UW leaders.
“When 61 legislators condemn a decision by UW-Madison and demand the dismissal of Kevin Barrett, the leadership of the UW System operates at its own peril if it continues to ignore views of the taxpayers,” Nass said in a statement.
Nass was “only interested in name-calling and witch hunting,” Barrett has said.
The state Assembly last week refused to take up a proposed resolution, supported by Nass, that calls on university to fire Barrett, who will be paid $8,247 as a part-time instructor this fall.
In Colorado, another professor has been under fire for an essay likening white-collar victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi high official and a key planner of the Holocaust.
University of Colorado officials concluded professor Ward Churchill could not be fired over the essay because of free speech protections, but they launched a probe into alleged misconduct. A faculty panel concluded he committed research misconduct, and university officials have said he should be fired . He has appealed.
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