Controversial Professor Leaving BYU

Controversial Professor Leaving BYU

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A Brigham Young University physics professor has resigned from his post Friday, six weeks after the school placed him on leave for making controversial remarks about the attacks of Sept. 11.

"I am electing to retire so that I can spend more time speaking and conducting research of my choosing," physics professor Steven Jones said in a statement released by the school.

His retirement is effective Jan. 1, 2007.

Jones began teaching at BYU, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 1985.

He recently published theories about U.S. government involvement in the events of Sept. 11, including that explosives inside the World Trade Center -- not airplanes striking the twin towers -- brought the complex down.

BYU stripped Jones of two classes and put him on leave in early September, beginning an investigation of his research.

The school abandoned its review Friday after reaching a retirement agreement with Jones, BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the school did not pressure Jones to retire.

Jones, who helped found Scholars for 9/11 Truth in 2005, said he plans to continue researching and speaking about his Sept. 11 theories. That includes completing an analysis of soils and metals from the towers that led him to the conclusions in his paper "Why Indeed Did the World Trade Center Collapse?"

Jones, not BYU, owns the materials, Jenkins said.

Jones has not apologized for his remarks, but he did declined comment on whether he regretted the happenings of the past several months.

"I have a stewardship for my research and my teaching and my work, and I'm doing my best on that," he said.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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