University defends 9/11 skeptic prof

Aug 1, 2006, 15:17 GMT

MADISON, WI, United States (UPI) -- The University of Wisconsin, Madison, is defending a lecturer`s private views he expressed on a radio show that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks were a sham.

Kevin Barrett, 47, made the allegations on a conservative radio talk show in June, quoting French news reports that a CIA agent had visited al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden two months before the attacks.

Last week, state Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, sent a resolution signed by 61 state other legislators to Gov. James Doyle, a Democrat, and university officials condemning Barrett`s 'academically dishonest views' and demanding his one-semester contract to teach the class be terminated, The New York Times reported.

However, University Chancellor John Wiley said Barrett`s personal beliefs were irrelevant in the classroom, where he must stick to a syllabus that has been approved by the department, which had determined after a 10-day review Barrett presented a variety of viewpoints and had not discussed his personal opinions in the classroom.

Barrett has been a teacher`s assistant or lecturer on Islam, African literature and other subjects at the university since 1996.