According to an article in the Deseret Morning News dated Friday, September 8, 2006:
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.
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.
I take issue with the term “so-called” being used in the first paragraph considering that that is, in fact, what the movement calls itself and that is what they seek, but that’s a topic I could go on about.
The point is that I emailed his publicly listed email address expressing my condolences and encouragement not to give up. This morning I received a response thanking me for my comments. I was surprised that he would actually take the time to reply considering the amount of correspondence he has no doubt received.
His situation is rather dire. BYU doesn’t grant tenure, but rather something they call “continuing status” which basically promises a job at the University as long as you remain an upstanding member of society, uphold Church doctrine and policy, and maintain job performance. He seems to have done nothing wrong. He even makes references to doctrine regarding the defense of the constitution, although these references are not always cited as relating to doctrines of the Church. This official review may have been partly the result of an August 2006 article by Jonathon Moseley for World Net Daily which includes the following paragraph accusing Jones of “calling for the violent overthrow of the government.”
Professor Steven Jones of Brigham-Young University accused George Bush of being a dictator, mimicking the preamble of the Declaration of Independence. When asked if violent revolution was necessary, this scientist declared – in front of national TV cameras – that there is no peaceful way to achieve the group’s goals. In the context of the question, professor Jones was calling for the violent overthrow of the government.
They were forced to retract the comment, which they did. But the accusation was still made and now he’s in danger of losing his job and possibly having his career ruined.
Steven Jones is a brave man who is just doing what his scientific truth-seeking conscience thinks is right. I wish him good luck in this time of difficulty and hope that those BYU faculty members will see him for who he is and allow him to continue his career at BYU.