Lane Community College in Oregon drops class about Islam after questions raised about the course's instructor, Barry Sommer
December 7, 2010
Lane Community College has pulled the plug on a noncredit winter course entitled “What is Islam?” after learning about some of the controversial political views of the course’s instructor, Eugene resident Barry Sommer.
Sommer has given talks at the Pacifica Forum, a discussion group forced off the University of Oregon campus following a series of presentations that critics said were anti-Semitic. He also leads the local chapter of ACT! for America, a nonprofit organization that describes itself as an issues advocacy group but that opponents describe as an Islamophobic hate group.
LCC President Mary Spilde said the college first learned of Sommer’s background as the result of a media inquiry.
“When it got on our radar, given the recent events in Portland and Corvallis, we said, ‘Wait a minute, we need to be very careful and really consider how Lane engages learning experiences in this environment,’ ” she said.
Spilde was referring to the alleged bombing attempt by a young Muslim man in downtown Portland, and the subsequent arson at a Corvallis mosque attended by the man, a former student at Oregon State University.