Mug shots of William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn
A scheduled appearance at the University of Wyoming by former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers, a close associate for years to President Obama, has been canceled over concerns it could be damaging to the school.
“The University of Wyoming is one of the few institutions remaining in today’s environment that garners the confidence of the public. The visit by Professor Ayers would have adversely impacted that reputation,” said Tom Buchanan, president of the school, in a statement today.
Ayers had been on the calendar to appear at the Laramie, Wyo., school Monday. A public lecture was to have been held in the Education Auditorium sponsored by the UW Social Justice Research Center.
He was to focus on his article “Trudge Toward Freedom: Educational Research in the Public Interest.”
However, the school was flooded with objections after the event was announced.
“The director of the Social Justice Research Center … canceled the scheduled appearance of Professor William Ayers,” the school confirmed. “The director announced his decision to the UW administration late Monday evening and noted there are no plans to host Professor Ayers in the future.”
The school announcement continued, “In his communication to the administration, the director apologized to the university community for any harm that may have come to it and cited personal and professional reasons, including safety concerns, for the cancellation.”
Buchanan said he thanked the organization, headed by Francisco Rios and is privately funded, for the consideration.
“Re-evaluation of this event was unavoidable. One way or the other, this event needed to be revisited, and I respect the director for being willing, on his own, to cancel this invitation. I’m satisfied with the outcome,” Buchanan said.
He said academic freedom is a core principle, “but with that freedom comes an obligation to exercise free thought and free speech in concert with mutual respect and acknowledgment of broader resource and security impacts on the campus. The exercise of freedom requires a commensurate dose of responsibility.”
At a forum page for the local Laramie Boomerang, participants were in support of the cancellation.
“No university should have anyone who has committed violent acts without remorse,” said one participant. “It is obvious to me that the person or persons who made this decision to invite Bill Ayers should resign immediately or be fired, as this was a gross error. …”
“I can’t believe that UW is going so low as to bring a … terrorist… I am embarrassed by this,” added a second.
Said a third, “I was proud to live in Laramie for 21 years. For the last 5 years, I have been ribbed by my Iowa Hawkeye fans neighbors for flying my UW Cowboys flag every Saturday afternoon during football season. The day this terrorist speaks in Laramie is the day I invite my neighbors over to watch me burn my flag, sweatshirts, hats, etc.”
But Ayers also was supported.
“Who do you conservatives get to censor next, since you apparently now decide who is heard at this university and who isn’t. Yes, 40 years ago he was a member of a small pretty inefectual (sic) group of radicals of whom some promoteed (sic) violence for their cause. He wasn’t here to talk about the that, (sic) but to discuss his education work.”
But still another may have focused on the crux of the issue:
“I can’t believe we are willing to let this terrorist speak for whatever reason at our university. If he speaks I already know … several people that will NEVER give another dime to this university,” he wrote.
WND reported Ayers, now a Chicago professor, and his wife, Weather Underground co-founder Bernardine Dohrn, recently were involved in provoking chaos on the streets of Egypt in an attempt to enter the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to join in solidarity with the territory’s population and leadership.
The protests were led in large part by Jodie Evans, co-founder of Code Pink, a far-left activist organization formed in 2002 to protest the war in Iraq. The group previously met with Hamas and with leaders of the Taliban. Evans was a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama’s presidential campaign.
Also protesting in Egypt was Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the anti-Israel Electronic Intifada website. WND previously reported Obama spoke at pro-Palestinian events in the 1990s alongside Abunimah. In one such event, a 1999 fundraiser for Palestinian “refugees,” Abunimah recalls introducing Obama on stage.
Ayers became a name in the 2008 presidential campaign when it was disclosed the radical worked closely with Obama for years.
Ayers helped launch Obama’s political career with a fundraiser in his home. Obama served on the board of a Chicago nonprofit alongside Ayers. The former terrorist later hired Obama to serve as chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a job Obama later cited as experience that helped qualify him to run for public office.
While at the CAC, Obama and Ayers both granted funds to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.
WND columnist Jack Cashill has produced a series of persuasive arguments that it was Ayers who ghostwrote Obama’s award-winning autobiography, “Dreams from My Father.”
Ayers and Dohrn were two of the main founders of the Weather Underground, which bombed the New York City Police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972. The group was responsible for some 30 bombings aimed at destroying the defense and security infrastructures of the U.S.
Characterizing the Weather Underground as “an American Red Army,” Ayers summed up the organization’s ideology: “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, Kill your parents.”
“Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon,” Ayers recalled in his 2001 memoir, “Fugitive Days.” “The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them.”
Ayers brandished his unrepentant radicalism for years to come, as evidenced by his now notorious 2001 interview with the New York Times, published one day after the 9/11 attacks, in which he stated, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”
Ayers posed for a photograph accompanying the New York Times piece that showed him stepping on an American flag. He said of the U.S.: “What a country. It makes me want to puke.”