Penn State Criticized for Ayers Speech
So, is Penn State palling around with terrorists?
Certainly, the university is coming under criticism after it became public that Bill Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground, would be speaking at the university this week. He is scheduled to a panelist at a March 19 an event sponsored by the Law and Education Alliance; no state funds are being used for the appearance, officials said.
Ayers was the co-founder of the radical 1970’s group The Weather Underground. He was arrested in 1980 for his involvement in the group’s activities but the case was eventually dropped because of the government’s methods of infiltrating and investigating the organization.Bill Ayers eventually became an influential figure in reforming education in Chicago in the 1990’s. In that role, he met a young aspiring politician named Barack Obama. Their relationship lead to a resurgence in attention towards Ayers during the 2008 presidential election.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati is leading the criticism, the Inquirer reports. “The decision to allow Mr. Ayers to address your students and faculty in light of his violent past is difficult for me to reconcile,” Scarnati wrote to Penn State president Eric Barron.
A university spokeswoman defended the freedom of campus groups to select speakers, but added: “The presence of any speaker cannot be taken as an endorsement by the university of his/her views.”