UMass Criticized Over Invitation to Convicted Bomber

November 11, 2009

Massachusetts officials, including Gov. Deval Patrick, are criticizing the University of Massachusetts at Amherst over an invitation to Ray Luc Levasseur, the founder of a radical group called the United Freedom Front, who was jailed and convicted for his role in a series of bombing attacks, The Boston Globe reported. The invitation has been in flux in recent days amid much public criticism, but some faculty members independently invited him, and the university says it cannot stop them from doing so. Jack Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts, issued a statement in which he said: "The use of violence as a means of achieving political goals is antithetical to everything we stand for as a University. We also regret the pain and anguish his visit causes for victims and survivors. It is important to note that Levasseur has not received a formal invitation from the University of Massachusetts or from any of its officials. The decision to invite him was made by a small number of faculty members. With that decision having been made, we see no way of preventing a speaking appearance, based on the free speech and free assembly rights we enjoy in this country and based on well-established principles of academic freedom."

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