With the end of the semester approaching, University of Wisconsin lecturer Kevin Barrett said he has opted not to apply to teach at UW next semester.
Barrett said his decision has nothing do with the adversity that has recently surrounded his UW teaching career. Barrett's publicized views that the U.S. government orchestrated the events of Sept. 11, 2001, have caused statewide controversy about the lecturer and his methods since this summer.
Barrett — who has a semester-long contract teaching the course "Islam: Religion and Culture" — said he would "absolutely" apply to teach the course in the spring semester, but the class is only available in the fall.
"This has been probably the best class I've ever had at any university," Barrett said. "I'm having a great time teaching my Islam class at UW, and I would love to teach one again."
Last week Barrett taught the long-awaited section of his course regarding the War on Terror and 9/11. Barrett focused on the "revisionist theory" Thursday, which suggests the 9/11 events were an inside job overseen by the Bush administration.
In a previous interview with The Badger Herald, Chancellor John Wiley said he was comfortable with Barrett teaching the course.
"I don't care what [Barrett's] personal views are as long as he doesn't use them to badger the students," Wiley told The Badger Herald in a previous interview.
Along with Islam, Barrett is qualified to teach folklore, French, English composition and African literature. Barrett said if there is an opening for "Islam: Religion and Culture" in fall 2007, he will apply for it, and he may apply for other available positions he is qualified to teach as well. However, Barrett said he could not teach in the spring semester because of conflicting plans.
"I couldn't accept something even if they offered, which I doubt they will," Barrett said.
UW professor of political science and president of the Committee of Academic Freedom and Rights, Donald Downs, said he was surprised that Barrett will not be returning in spring 2007 and is curious to see what will happen if Barrett does apply for a teaching position in fall 2007.
State Rep. Mark Gundrum, R-New Berlin, said he would be fine with Barrett teaching courses that do not include "radical" teachings.
"As long as somebody can be a competent teacher about things that aren't an agenda of radical indoctrination, that's fine," Gundrum said. "Go teach calculus."
Gundrum said Barrett's absence in spring 2007 is the "right decision."
"I don't think taxpayers should be supporting Kevin Barrett," Gundrum said. "I think that's the right decision for the university system and the taxpayers of Wisconsin."
If Barrett were to teach a subject other than Islam, according to Downs, there is a possibility that he might escape the limelight.
"But you know, he's a very controversial guy anyway," Downs said. "Part of the argument they had made about him had to do with the course he was teaching, so I think that would make at least some difference in terms of their attitudes."