16 February 2008
Summary Response Essay
“Mr. Barrett, who has a one-semester contract to teach a course titled ‘Islam: Religion and Culture,’ acknowledged on a radio talk show that he has shared with his students his strong conviction that the destruction of the WTC was an inside job perpetrated by the American government.”
The uproar in the aftermath of Barrett’s statement was enormous. Many urged the school to fire Barrett for spreading this idea to his students. The administration stood by the teacher because he shared this information, not as propaganda for recruitment, but to show another view of 9/11, which has so many different viewpoints.
The foundation of our educational institution is being able to teach just about anything without fear of persecution. Many events in history have polar-opposite viewpoints and people need to understand all sides to truly understand history. Barrett was teaching his students about a less favored view of 9/11, but there are many thousands who believe it as well.
With almost any history book, they show the common belief of the area for which they are made, though those beliefs may not be how the rest of the world views things. Darwin has proven the theory of evolution, but there are still many religious folks who choose to believe God created us, and they have a right to their viewpoint. Believe it or not, there are still those who believe the world is flat even with all the outstanding evidence that proves otherwise. They should believe what they want to believe, they have chosen how they wish to live their own lives and everyone is entitled to do so as long as no harm comes upon others because of them.
Teachers these days have to teach a lot of material, some that may even cause issues in the classroom. Things like the Holocaust and Nazis, or civil rights and the KKK are very important to understanding the world today, but tend to leave a bad taste in people’ mouths. Understanding why the parties involved felt the way they did helps students understand how the world got to this point in history. That doesn’t mean the students have to adopt the beliefs of the KKK, civil rights fighters, Nazis, or Jews, it hopefully just makes them less ignorant to hopefully never let these things happen again.
As long as Barrett didn’t try to make his students believe his theory, he did nothing wrong. Frankly, if college students can’t pick out their own truths by now, then they have no business in an institute of higher education. No one outside of the college should be interfering with what they teach on campus unless it will cause bodily harm to others.