Former University of Wisconsin lecturer Kevin Barrett was denied a fall teaching position he had applied for in the English department, university officials confirmed in July.
Barrett, who brought a great deal of scrutiny to UW last year for his outspoken defense of a Sept. 11 conspiracy theory, wanted to teach a 300-level English course on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales but was not hired because the other candidates were more qualified, according to UW spokesperson Brian Mattmiller.
"The UW-Madison English department received three applications to teach the fall 2007 course on Chaucer. The person who was ultimately chosen … was the best qualified and most experienced candidate," Mattmiller said.
The hired candidate, teaching assistant Brian O'Camb, is a specialist in medieval-era British literature and has extensive experience teaching for the UW-Madison English department. Barrett has a doctorate in Arabic literature and a master's degree in English literature.
During his fall 2006 term as a lecturer Barrett attracted national media attention to the university over his belief that the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were an inside U.S. military job.
His ideas sparked a fierce debate around academic freedom of speech and caused several lawmakers, including Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, to call on to UW to fire him.
After reviewing the coursework for Barrett's introductory-level course on Islam history and culture, in which the controversial theories would be discussed, Provost Patrick Farrell decided to let Barrett stay and teach.
During the semester, Farrell publicly requested the lecturer to stop seeking publicity for his controversial ideas and asked him to stop associating himself with UW when he's promoting his view.
Barrett finished the academic semester and received a large amount of positive feedback from his students, according to anonymous student evaluations obtained by The Badger Herald.
Toward the end of the spring semester, Barrett once more attracted the media after announcing he would travel to Morocco in an attempt to locate and interview a man accused of hijacking an airplane and flying it into the World Trade Center.
The 9/11 Commission accused Saudi Arabian pilot Waleed al-Shehri of stabbing two unarmed flight attendants and crashing a plane into one of the Twin Towers five-and-a-half years ago.
According to Barrett, al-Shehri has been living and working in Morocco as a pilot, and finding him would "poke a hole" in the 9/11 Commission report.
Several lawmakers said Barrett was only looking for media attention and UW Assistant Director of State Relations Don Nelson said UW "has no intention of hiring Kevin Barrett."
Barrett was not available for comment as of press time.