61 Lawmakers Call For Instructors Dismissal

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52 Wisconsin state legislators and 9 state senators have signed a letter demanding that the University of Wisconsin – Madison fire the 9/11 conspiracy believing instructor, Kevin Barrett. The adjunct instructor believes the US government conducted the events of 9/11 to foment war in the Middle East. The UW-M(oonbat) administration conducted a review of Mr. Barrett and decided his theories were acceptable to teach.

A letter sent Thursday and signed by 52 Assembly representatives and nine state senators condemns a decision to let Kevin Barrett teach an introductory class on Islam this fall.

UW-Madison Provost Pat Farrell 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."

Republican Rep. Steve Nass 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.

Barrett has said Nass was "only interested in name-calling and witch hunting."

A quality educational experience apparently includes allowing Barrett a soapbox he can use to contaminate minds with utter nonsense. Because a government that can't keep the New York Times from publishing details of a top secret program is capable of conducting the orchestration of a devious plot to foment war and keeping it hidden from all but the Illuminati such as Mr. Barrett.

Uh. Sure. Someone might want to clue in UW-M(eathead) that academic freedom doesn't mean freedom from consequence. I suspect the next budget might suffer from the stance the university has chosen to take.

UPDATE: Same wire service story, but CNN has video. Also see Ann Althouse who has been following this story from the beginning. She teaches at Madison, of course, and is not at all happy with Barrett.

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8 Responses to 61 Lawmakers Call For Instructors Dismissal

  1. Boinkie says:

    Freedom of speech says he should not be dismissed for giving opinions.
    However, the university should be investigated as to why
    1). they allow a person to teach fraudulent documents as truth
    2) they allow a person to teach a subject outside his area of expertise.
    Is he an expert on how the US government works? On international relations? on Civil engineering? On Arabic, so he could present primary papers written in the press there? On History? On the history of the Ottoman Empire?
    I personally doubt it. He is merly teaching his opinion. Now, for a political non credit course, maybe that would be ok. But for a university to authorize it, that is not intellectually honest.
    It would be like I, as a doctor, teaching English or Civil Engineering. Not my area of expertise.

  2. Gaius says:

    I mentioned this before on earlier posts on this matter – it’s not a freedom of speech issue at all. It is an employment issue. To the extent he teaches his theories at the expense of valid coursework, he is failing to do the job he was hired to do. Your point is spot on.

  3. Hucbald says:

    A couple of summers ago I spent some time in Madison. It’s a beautiful little college town, but there was something creepy about its Stepfordized citizenry. Just beneath the calm an pleasant surface – a surface I suspect was perscription drug enhanced in many cases – was a raging moonbattery just waiting for an opening to launch a salvo through. Not place for a stridently opinionated libertarian, I can tell you that… Well, the herbage was better than average, but any decent buzz could be harshed without a moment’s notice.

  4. Bukko in Australia says:

    It’s not a freedom of spech issue if it’s speech that rightists don’t like, is it? What about if it was a right-wing professor who was teaching something that went against lefty dogma, and a liberal Board of Regents wanted to fire the professor? Would that be a case of, well, let’s call it CENSORSHIP? What about the “free marketplace of ideas” that you freedom-lovers purport to espouse? If there are no students who believe this, then the guy’s theory will die a slow death through ignorance. (Before you snicker, there are several meanings of the word…)

    I’ll tell you rightists something — the “Bush did it” conspiracy theory has a lot of adherents here in Australia. And I don’t mean just my wife and the left-wingers we hang out with. I’m a hospital nurse, and when I talk about politics with average Aussie patients, it’s surprising how many say “I’ve heard it was an inside job.” That’s a measure of how much the U.S. is distrusted even in a country that was once one of its closest allies. (John Howard still clings to Bush, but the mass of the populace is disgusted that Oz is wasting its troops in Iraq.)

    I don’t believe President Cheney engineered the 9/11 terror attacks, but I do believe he’ll be behind the next one: when a nuclear weapon explodes in a ship in San Francisco Bay. Wouldn’t you rightists love that? Kill 2 million of the most liberal citizens in America, including all those gays and immigrants, and give the fascists an excuse to impose martial law, cancel the 2008 elections and nuke every enemy on your lengthy hate list?

  5. Donald Palmer says:

    Differing conclusions can certainly arise from a given set of facts. Rep. Cynthia McKinney argued shortly after 9/11 that the White House knew in advance that planes would hit the WTC and the Pentagon, and did nothing to stop them. At least she acknowledges that the planes did the damage.

    Barrett concocts a theory on the slimmest thread of very questionable evidence that the WTC was brought down by explosive charges planted ahead of time in the buildings’ superstructures.

    When instructors start making up their own facts, they are not educating, but engaging in propaganda, Orwellian double-speak and pure Soviet-style revisionism. Maybe there is a creative writing workshop in need of an instructor – Barrett has quite an imagination.

  6. Gaius says:

    Bukko, that is a contemptible and foolish thing to say.

  7. tmi3rd says:


    Trying to answer you fairly is a difficult proposition, particularly given your adherence to lefty talking points, but I will attempt it.

    Very simply put, most of the people here who object to Barrett’s teaching this class object to this being outside his area of expertise. His Ph.D is in African languages, literature, and folklore, and he will be teaching a course on Islam. He announced that he will spend a week discussing the US government’s involvement in causing 9/11.

    It may surprise you that the vast majority of us on the right are quite quick to hold our own to the standards we want to hold the left to. There is nothing outside of conspiracy theorism that plausibly connects an administration (less than 9 months old at the time) to another shot fired in the war between 20th century Islam and the West.

    Your final paragraph really sums it up- you are quick to invoke every slur you can think of, and the answer is simple. Despite our political differences with other people in the country, we haven’t lost sight of the fact that they’re our countrymen. So no, we don’t hope for the destruction of 2 million of our countrymen, regardless of their political affiliation.

    You might try not projecting your own hatred onto us sometime… it’s very liberating. We aren’t the ones over here agitating for the assassination of presidents or prime ministers.

    You’re a real tough guy (or girl) from 10,000 km, by the way.



  8. Sanddog says:

    Bukko, Free speech does not and has never come with a guarantee for a taxpayer funded platform for said speech. No one is trying to put Barrett in jail or deprive him of his rights for being a barking moonbat. The simple fact of the matter is that he doesn’t have an unlimited right to say whatever he wants and make the good people of Wisconsin pay for it. Now you may feel quite strongly that the President and Vice President of the USA are evil and you might actually believe that Jews kill arab children to use their blood in Passover bread but we’re not going to pay you to advance your opinions.

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