Without Tenure, Universities Like Brigham Young Have More License to Persecute Controversial Professors

This dreaded university has a history of abuse and mistreatment of faculty. In 1998 the oppressive and unprofessional administration was CENSURED by the American Association of University Professors. One would think B.Y.U. would have learned its lesson and attempt, as it could with some effort, to extricate itself from the A.A.U.P. censure. Yet it persists in such authoritarian assaults on the learning process and the open and free exchange of ideas. Shame on this university administration and any sycophantic faculty who endorse its oppressive practices. 

The latest infringement on academic freedom is seen below:

BYU places '9/11 truth' professor on paid leave
Copyright 2006 Deseret Morning News


By Tad Walch
Deseret Morning News
       PROVO – Brigham Young University placed physics professor
Steven Jones on paid leave Thursday while it reviews his involvement
in the so-called "9/11 truth movement" that accuses unnamed
government agencies of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on
the World Trade Center.

Steven Jones
       BYU will conduct an official review of Jones' actions before
determining a course of action, university spokeswoman Carri Jenkins
said. Such a review is rare for a professor with "continuing status"
at BYU, where Jones has taught since 1985.
       Jones was teaching two classes this semester, which began
Tuesday. Other professors will cover those classes, and Jones will be
allowed to continue to do research in his area of academic study,
Jenkins said.
       Jones became a celebrity among 9/11 conspiracy-theory groups
after he wrote a paper titled "Why Indeed Did the World Trade Center
Buildings Collapse?" The paper was published two weeks ago in the
book "9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out" and lays out
Jones' hypothesis that the three towers fell because of pre-
positioned demolition charges – not because of the planes that hit
two of the towers.
       When Jones began to share his demolition theory publicly last
fall, he politely declined to speculate about who set the charges
other than to say terrorist groups couldn't have been the source.
       Then, later, he started to speak publicly about research
conducted at BYU on materials from ground zero. He said he found
evidence of thermite – a compound used in military detonations –
in the materials.
       In recent weeks, after becoming the co-chairman of the group
Scholars for 9/11 Truth, Jones seemed willing to go further,
implicating unnamed government groups but not President Bush.
       The Deseret Morning News requested a statement from the
university Wednesday afternoon for a story it was preparing on Jones
and his high-profile role in the 9/11 truth movement. University
officials informed Jones of the decision to place him on leave
Thursday afternoon and released a statement to the newspaper Thursday night.

       "BYU has repeatedly said that it does not endorse assertions
made by individual faculty," the statement said. "We are, however,
concerned about the increasingly speculative and accusatory nature of
these statements by Dr. Jones."
       Last fall, BYU faculty posted statements on the university Web
site that questioned whether Jones subjected the paper to rigorous
academic peer review before he posted it at physics.byu.edu. Jones
removed the paper from BYU's Web site Thursday at the university's
       Efforts to reach Jones prior to press time Thursday night were
not successful. He later declined comment. Jones told the Deseret
Morning News on Wednesday that his paper had gone through an unusual third round of peer review in what is now an apparently unsuccessful effort to quell concerns on campus.
       "BYU remains concerned that Dr. Jones' work on this topic has
not been published in appropriate scientific venues," the university
statement said.
       Jenkins said BYU's reputation was a consideration, too.
       "It is a concern when faculty bring the university name into
their own personal matters of concern," she said.
       Jones, also known for his cold fusion research, provided
academic clout to the 9/11 truth movement. C-SPAN repeatedly
broadcast a conference that featured Jones this summer. Recent
articles about Sept. 11 conspiracy theories that focused at least in
part on Jones have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington
, the Guardian in London and other publications.
       Recent rebuttals to the demolition theory have been released
by the State Department and the National Institute of Standards and
Technology, which published a 10,000-page report on the towers'
       A modified version of Jones' paper was scheduled to be
published this week in the online Journal of 9/11 Studies. Jones is a
co-editor of the journal.
       BYU does not grant tenure, generally regarded as a permanent
position, to professors. However, it does give continuing status to
professors found worthy after six years on campus.
       "Continuing status," Jenkins said, "grants the expectation
that faculty members will have continuing employment at the
university, although it is not a guarantee. They still need to meet
satisfactory performance levels for scholarship, citizenship and
       The review will be conducted at three levels by the
administration, the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and
the Physics Department.

This entry was posted in Academia/Academic Freedom. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply