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Assembly dodges measure calling for dismissal of controversial UW professor

MADISON - The State Assembly has decided not to vote on a measure calling for the dismissal of a controversial University of Wisconsin instructor.

Rep. Steven Nash, R-Whitewater, had threatened to use the Legislature's brief return to Madison to push a vote on firing instructor Kevin Barrett.

Barrett has taken heat for his contention that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. He was recently cleared by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Provost to go ahead with his course this fall on Islamic culture.

The Provost also said a review of Barrett's record found students generally gave him high marks as an instructor.

Nass says he held off on his resolution to dismiss Barrett because he didn't have the necessary votes.

Instead, he's asking his colleagues to sign a petition that he'll forward to the University along with a threat of future budget cuts. He says the University has got to know that these legislators are prepared to look at the budget and bring the University in line with "what general public thought is with taxpayers."

Nass is a freqent critic of the University.

Last year, he got the Assembly to pass a resolution condemning a speaker at a UW forum who compared victims of the 9/11 attacks to Nazis.

Barrett has said that in his situation, political pressure by Nass and others has given him the kind of publicity that he's been trying to get on his own for years.