A Skeptic on 9/11 Prompts Questions on Academic Freedom
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times
Posted: November 11th, 2006
Kevin Barrett ticked off a few examples of what he saw as evidence that the Sept. 11 attacks had been an "inside job." Mr. Barrett, 47, described how some news orgainzations...had reported that an agent from the Central Intelligence Agency visited with Osama bin Laden two months before the attacks. He also said fires could not have caused the collapse of the World Trade Center towers at free-fall speed, as reported by the special Sept. 11 commission. "The 9/11 report will be universally reviled as a sham and a cover-up very soon," said Mr. Barrett, who has been a teacher's assistant or lecturer on Islam, African literature and other subjects at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, since 1996. "The 9/11 commission has its conspiracy theory, and we have ours." Mr. Barrett's views, which he described on a conservative radio talk show in June, have outraged some Wisconsin legislators and generated a fierce debate about academic freedom on a campus long known as a haven for progressive ideologies and student activism. Mr. Barrett, a co-founder of a group called Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth, argued that he had never presented his personal opinions in class and that he was free to offer those opinions on his own time outside the classroom. Mr. Barrett and [University of Wisconsin] Chancellor Wiley both said the controversy might actually be helping provide Mr. Barrett with a larger platform to voice his ideas.