Wednesday, February 8, 2006

O'Reilly Factor on Northwestern's Butz

I made a brief appearance last night on the O'Reilly Factor regarding Arthur Butz, the Northwestern professor who is a great fan of the Iranian President.

O'Reilly, recognizing that since Butz has tenure he can't be fired, asked what could be done. I suggested that even though Butz does not mention the Holocaust in his electrical engineering classes, he should not be allowed to teach.

O'Reilly asked if this would be a violation of his academic freedom. I said no, he still can say whatever he wants to say but he just won't be allowed in the courtroom which is a form of endorsement [possibly passive but endorsement nonetheless] by the university.

O'Reilly liked the idea [?!!] and said he would take it up with the Northwestern president.

Never a dull moment.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I think its will be a big step forward for Northwestern University to stop Arthur Butz from teaching EE courses. Without going into the debate of holocust denial, let me present some of my experience from taking couple of courses (Optimal Control, Adv. Signal Processing) from him while being a grad student at Northwestern University.

First of all, his teaching materials are age old. Maybe his course contents were relevant when he finished his Phd 40 years back but they are of little value now. I am not aware of the pace at which his research on holocaust denial progresses, but he should know that technology in the fast moving areas like ECE changes at a fast pace.

I want to convey him one piece of information: most of the students at NU spend a sizable amount of time, money and energy to get decent education. Ths is especially true for intenational students who have to go through a lengthy admission procedure. To me, all students are entitled to get good education and they shouldn't waste their hefty tuition by taking courses from illiterate and ignorant (as referred to EE domain knowledge; I don't know about his knowledge related to holocaust).

If he had any amount of dignity and self-respect, he should have paid more attention to his course materials and ensured that students get good education. Honestly, I don't feel he has any respect and occassionally comes up with a stunt, like supporting the President of Iran, etc to make his presence felt. He is confined to a dusty office in the Tech building, totally disregarded by students of any country and religion (yes, I had a couple of very good friends from Iran who were also NU ECE grad students and they don't have any respect for him either!) and uses university resource (like pubweb) for propagating his personal opinions. Not sure, whether he pays for and maintains his own Holocaust website after pubweb is gone!

Overall, to sum up, if its not posible to kick Arthur Butz out of NU due to the fact that he has tenure, at least stop him from offering courses which will ruin future of the students.