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Congress demands professor fired

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Yahoo! News Mon, Apr 07, 2003
Middle East - AP
House Members Demand Professor's Firing
Fri Apr 4, 5:52 PM ET

WASHINGTON - One hundred and four Republican House members are urging the firing of a Columbia University professor over anti-war comments he made.

Nicholas DeGenova, an assistant professor of anthropology at the university, called for the defeat of U.S. forces in Iraq (news - web sites) and told an anti-war gathering that he wanted to see "a million Mogadishus" a reference to an operation in Somalia in 1993 in which elite U.S. Army Rangers and Delta Force units were pinned down in a fierce firefight. Eighteen Americans were killed and 84 wounded.

"The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military," DeGenova said, according to reports in Newsday.

On Friday, 104 House members, led by Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., sent a letter to Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger demanding that DeGenova be fired.

"Assistant professor DeGenova has brought shame on the great institution that is Columbia University," the letter said. "As an assistant professor, DeGenova has not yet earned the promise of lifelong academic employment i.e. tenure. We hope that you will take steps immediately to ensure he never gets it."

Bollinger has responded to calls for DeGenova's firing saying he was appalled by the statements, but they were not made in a classroom and the professor was exercising his right to free speech.

"While Nicholas De Genova's words properly invite anger and sharp rebuke, there are few things more precious on any university campus than freedom of thought and expression," Bollinger said.

A university spokeswoman said the school was standing by that earlier statement.

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