Tad Walch -- Deseret Morning News
PROVO, Utah -- Sept. 6, 2006 -- Brigham Young University placed physics professor Steven Jones on paid leave Thursday while it reviews his involvement in the so-called "9/11 truth movement" that accuses unnamed government agencies of orchestrating the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.
BYU will conduct an official review of Jones' actions before determining a course of action, university spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said. Such a review is rare for a professor with "continuing status" at BYU, where Jones has taught since 1985.
Jones was teaching two classes this semester, which began Tuesday. Other professors will cover those classes, and Jones will be allowed to continue to do research in his area of academic study, Jenkins said.
Jones became a celebrity among 9/11 conspiracy-theory groups after he wrote a paper titled "Why Indeed Did the World Trade Center Buildings Collapse?" The paper was published two weeks ago in the book "9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out" and lays out Jones' hypothesis that the three towers fell because of pre-positioned demolition charges -- not because of the planes that hit two of the towers.
When Jones began to share his demolition theory publicly last fall, he politely declined to speculate about who set the charges other than to say terrorist groups couldn't have been the source.