An essay penned by a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill claiming a course at one of North Carolina’s flagship schools cast a favorable light on the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack has gone viral in the last week.
The freshman journalism student, Alec Dent, claimed in his essay published on the conservative news site College Fix that readings for the optional freshman seminar course “present terrorists in a sympathetic light and American political leaders as greedy, war hungry and corrupt.”
Problem is, as he told WRAL earlier this week, he didn’t actually take the class or read the listed materials.
UNC offers more than 80 seminar courses to its students but “Literature of 9/11” struck a chord with Dent. The course claims to explore a diverse number of themes related to the September 11 attacks, but for Dent it was not diverse enough.
“The class reading list is what first stuck out to me because it really got me thinking, is this a fair and balanced way of looking at the situation,” Dent said.
The freshman journalism major said that he looked at the reading list as well as the class syllabus before writing a piece for an online student publication called “The College Fix.”
Dent admits that he has not taken the class, nor has he read any of the books on the list, but he still felt the course was too one-sided.
“The more research I did into it, the more it seemed like the readings were sympathetic towards terrorism.”
A student who did do the reading and did take the class took issue with Dent’s description, saying that he enjoyed the class taught by Prof. Neel Ahuja, an associate professor in English at UNC, and found it was balanced.
Since Dent’s review was posted a week ago, it’s gone viral in conservative websites and media outlets, with outrage abounding.
Media Matters took a look at a Fox News segment, which had the header “Required Reading: UNC class sympathizes with 9/11 terrorists” and pointed out that the readings were not required, nor were they pushing a single point of view.
“In addition, the full list of assigned readings for the course does in fact contain diverse literature representing the perspectives of Arab-Americans, residents of New York City, members of the U.S. military and their families, survivors of the attacks, non-partisan terrorism researchers, artists, historians, musicians, and the international Muslim community, as well as several texts aimed to honor or memorialize victims of the attacks,” the Media Matters piece states.
Watch the Fox News segment for yourself below.