Bill Ayers threatens to sue University of Wyoming

2010-04-14T08:59:00Z Bill Ayers threatens to sue University of WyomingJeremy Pelzer Casper Star-Tribune Rapid City Journal
April 14, 2010 8:59 am  • 

The University of Wyoming has been threatened with a lawsuit if the school doesn't allow 1960s radical-turned-academic Bill Ayers to speak on campus later this month.

The threat came after UW attorney Susan Weidel told student Meg Lanker that Ayers is banned from using a university venue to deliver a planned lecture on education theory on April 28. Lanker, who's organizing Ayers' visit, said Weidel didn't give a reason for the ban.

Late last month, the UW Social Justice Research Center canceled plans for Ayers to visit campus on April 5-6, citing security concerns. University administrators were bombarded with angry phone calls and e-mails, some of which threatened to cut off funding to the university or even violence if Ayers showed up.

In 1969, Ayers co-founded the Weather Underground, a Marxist-Leninist anti-war group that claimed responsibility for a series of bombings -- including explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol in the early 1970s that didn't kill anyone.

Lanker, angry about the cancellation, invited Ayers to campus to speak at UW's Classroom Building, which was reserved by the Secular Student Alliance, a UW-recognized student group.

But on Monday, Lanker was told by Wiedel in a phone call and e-mail that Ayers would not be welcome on campus.

"She was emphatic that it was not a possibility," Lanker said.

David Lane, an attorney for Lanker and Ayers, wrote Weidel in a letter Monday night that if Ayers isn't allowed to speak at UW, he will file suit in federal court. He gave UW a deadline of "high noon" today.

"You are prohibiting Mr. Ayers from speaking in a public forum commonly used for such purposes and you are preventing those interested members of the student body and community at large from hearing his message based solely upon the content of that message," Lane wrote in the letter. "As you undoubtedly know, the government is not permitted to censor free speech based upon its content."

UW spokeswoman Jessica Lowell said Tuesday that she wasn't sure if university administrators had seen the letter. Asked why UW decided to ban Ayers from speaking on campus, Lowell said, "No comment."

Weidel did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

Opponents of Ayers' visit are more concerned about his past than the topic of his lecture.

For more on this story, go to http://www.trib.com/news/state-and-regional/article_864541cd-4d5c-5b54-b692-466ea09d85c7.html

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. CheckpointsAreUnconstitutional
    Report Abuse
    CheckpointsAreUnconstitutional - April 14, 2010 3:30 pm
    Attempting to block this man from speaking on campus sets a poor example for the students. Universities are supposed to be places of academic freedom, where all viewpoints can be freely exchanged and considered. Even if you believe that Mr. Ayers' viewpoints are vile, something can be learned by listening to him. Small-minded people often have trouble understanding the value in hearing opposing views.
  2. Obamadana
    Report Abuse
    Obamadana - April 14, 2010 10:16 am
    Rush Mountmore..Billy has not been in prison. He spent some time in jail because of other activities, but never went to prison. He changed identites to coexist with the same people he despised and tried to kill. Some hero he is. He is no better then anyone else that attacks and runs.
  3. Rush Mountmore
    Report Abuse
    Rush Mountmore - April 14, 2010 9:32 am
    Bill Ayers is supposed to be getting out of prison about now, for bombing the Pentagon and declaring war on America. It's an insult that he can use taxpayer funded facilities for his politics.
  4. Obamadana
    Report Abuse
    Obamadana - April 14, 2010 9:32 am
    Poor baby billy. I know where he can get all sorts of things free. He would just need to admit his past terror acts and go to prison. What a progressive liberal leftie Billy is. I have no clue how Mr. Obama can consider him his good friend.
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