SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif - A college student claims his Cal Poly professor is making the class read a book that calls Osama Bin Laden a "freedom fighter."
"He refers to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda as freedom fighters, I mean he doesn't explicitly say that but it's implied," said Aaron Bandler, a former student of Dr. Emmit Evans.
Bandler is a third-year journalism student; he took Evans "World Food Systems" class last quarter. "What I found was that the class seemed to have a very left-wing environmentalist slant to it," said Bandler.
Evans calls himself a constitutional conservative. In a class that is political in nature, one of the books on the reading list: "The Other World" co-authored by Evans, set Bandler off.
"The Al Qaeda movement of Osama bin Laden is one example of an attempt to free a country (in this case, Saudi Arabia) from corrupt and repressive regime propped up by a neocolonial power (in this case the United States)," read Bandler from the book.
We asked Bandler if he felt these were his professor's actual views he replied, "Yeah, basically, he was inserting his opinion and he shouldn't be teaching his opinion as fact."
On Friday we went to Evans office but he wasn't there. We also sent him an email and got an auto response saying he was out of town. So we decided to talk with another political science professor on the issue, Michael Latner.
"From a political perspective from, from an ideological perspective, certainly we don't typically talk about Al Qaeda as a freedom fighting movement," said Latner. He went on to say the nation's perspective of course is that the organization is a dangerous terrorist organization; however that's how the U.S. looks at it. "Social scientists study social movements and political behavior, and we seek to understand those movements from their own perspective," said Latner.
Here is a statement from the university.
At Cal Poly, we take our responsibilities to students very seriously.
"We encourage our students to develop critical thinking skills, consider multiple points of view, and examine all information in context.
Professor Evans' comments featured recently in the media must be read in full to appreciate their context and meaning. Nothing in Professor Evans' writing glamorizes or supports terrorism.
A university is a marketplace of ideas — some of which may conflict with more widely held opinions and notions. – Cal Poly State University."