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Professors under fire for attack comments
At the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., a secretary was told to take down a flag she had hung in her office--inciting a deluge of hate mail and angry calls denouncing the professor who asked her to do it.
A professor at the University of New Mexico may face discipline for joking in class about the Pentagon attack.
Whether doves, hawks or dissidents, a growing number of professors across the country have become targets because of things they have said since the attacks on Sept. 11--a reaction that chills the profession.
"We're watching these developments with a lot of concern," said Ruth Flower, the director of public policy for the American Association of University Professors. "There's a very strong unity of opinion for the first time in a long time in the country, but a unity that doesn't allow for dissent, that interferes with academic freedom, is not healthy for a democratic society."
At the University of New Mexico, alumni, lawmakers and colleagues have called for Richard Berthold, a history professor, to resign after he said as a joke in one of his classes, "Anyone who can blow up the Pentagon gets my vote."
Students complained to administrators about the remark, which Berthold has since admitted was in bad taste. The university president, though he defended Berthold's 1st Amendment rights, called for disciplinary action against the professor.
One libertarian group, the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, represents about 10 professors who say college officials and students have sought to silence them since the attacks.