(CNSNews.com) -- Instructors at the taxpayer-funded University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) reportedly told students enrolled in their team-taught humanities class that America’s founding fathers ran “a terrorist organization” and used “violence and terror to influence opinions” in their fight for independence from Great Britain.
According to The College Fix, a student who wished to remain anonymous recorded lectures given by Benson and Lee in October and November, telling the website that “what they have been teaching us goes beyond any liberal interpretation of history that I have ever heard.”
The Declaration of Independence lists 27 grievances the colonies had against King George III, including cutting off their trade with other parts of the world, imposing taxes and quartering soldiers in their homes without their consent, and depriving them of a trial by jury.
The document refers to the king’s rule as “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations” of their rights as British citizens.
The Declaration also states that it is the duty of a people oppressed and abused by a government to establish a new form of government for themselves, one that acknowledges their “certain and unalienable rights,” including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
But Benson and Lee compared the colonists’ revolt to modern-day terrorists.
“As Jared [Benson] pointed out, by any modern definition, this was a terrorist organization. And I don’t say that to be hyperbolic,” Lee reportedly told the class. “Like literally an organization that uses terror to accomplish what they want. That’s exactly what they were doing, right?” he asked students.
“So all these people that we were like, 'Oh they’re our founding fathers.' It’s all relative. At the time, they were using violence and terror to influence opinions,” Lee was heard saying.
According to the audio recording, Benson also told students that because there was no nation at the time, and the founding fathers’ identities were linked to the particular colonies they resided in before the Revolutionary War, they used indoctrination to convince their fellow colonists to revolt against English rule.
“So I think that the wealthy created this idea of suffering and led the colonists to believe that they were suffering as a result of British repression,” Lee added.
Benson also suggested that it was hypocritical of the founding fathers to refer to themselves as being enslaved by the British government when many of them owned actual slaves.
“They argued that forcing them to buy British tea over Dutch tea was again enslaving them and compromising their freedoms. What do you think of that? It was a bold claim to make,” Benson told students.
“For a culture that literally enslaved people, to kind of throw that word around – because they have to buy tea from a certain company – feels… maybe a little bit propagandist. But that’s a key piece to successful social movements,” he said.
Benson also criticized the colonists for dressing as Native Americans during the Boston Tea Party, calling their stated grievances against the British monarchy “child-like gripes.”
“Why’d they dress up like Native Americans? That’s offensive on so many fronts. Maybe keeping their identities secret – except they all wrote about it later. So perhaps as unjustified as the colonists were in their child-like gripes against the Crown, the Crown in and of itself is making it worse.”
CNSNews.com emailed both instructors, asking them to confirm that they compared the founding fathers to terrorists, and asking them to explain the differences, if any, between the Sons of Liberty and jihadist groups such as ISIS.
After receiving no response, CNSNews was contacted by Tom Hutton of the University Communications Office on behalf of Benson.
“The University of Colorado [at] Colorado Springs supports the constitutional principles of free expression and its protection for both faculty and students,” Hutton told CNSNews, adding that “the course was not an American history course or a course on the American Revolution”.
He also stated that The College Fix website distorted the instructors’ comments and “removed the context of the course and its focus on social movements in the United States and across the globe.”
CNSNews also contacted The College Fix and asked if the website had received any pushback from the university.
“The university requested all four lectures be transcribed in full for their review and we agreed to that. That process is underway. That is the extent of our discussions with administration at this time,” The College Fix editor Jennifer Kabbany told CNSNews.