(Originally received January 22, 2013)
Dear Dr. Heather Coltman and Dr. Diane Alperin,
I have examined Professor James Tracy’s writings regarding the Newtown, Conn., massacre and I am briefly presenting a case-study to you on how a university can deal with this situation. I was awarded by the University of Toronto for my documentary entitled 9/11 in the Academic Community which examines how academia treats critical perspectives of media or governmental narratives.
I documented what happened to John McMurtry, a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph and Fellow of the Canadian Royal Society. When McMurtry questioned the official narrative just three months after 9/11, academics flooded his university with e-mails, from its president to his department chair, demanding that he be fired. His colleagues at Harvard notified McMurtry that they are reporting to the FBI and CIA. The university maintained his professorship on grounds of academic freedom. Although McMurtry engaged in a topic far more controversial than what Tracy has engaged in, University of Guelph succeeded in overcoming the pressures by simply defending the foundations of institutions of research and critical thinking, which is academic freedom.
I had several academics and an eminent university president emeritus express their reflections about McMurtry and how scholars aggressively identify with media narratives and yet have little factual knowledge of them, which is the exact opposite of scholarship. Furthermore, the line of inquiry that professors such as James Tracy use have made it into the peer-reviewed literature. Please see the American Behavioral Scientist on “State Crimes Against Democracy.” Tracy, having expertise in media and communications is actually doing his job.
I would hate to make a documentary on how Florida Atlantic University’s personalities mishandled this situation. I trust that you will hold the principles of academic freedom above all pressures. It is amazing how we can all recall Galileo’s story except when it is being repeated in our own social order, at this very moment in time.
Director and Producer of Documentary – 9/11 in the Academic Community