Judge Rules U. of Wyoming Must Let Ayers Speak

April 28, 2010

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the University of Wyoming to let William Ayers speak on the campus today -- and to reverse a decision to bar him from appearing. The university originally cited political controversy over Ayers, a University of Illinois at Chicago education professor who is controversial because of his one-time role as a leader of the Weather Underground. During the court hearings on a suit challenging the university's decision, officials cited security concerns, but the judge said that did not justify the decision. The Casper Star-Tribune reported that Judge William Downes said: "This court is of age to remember the Weather Underground. When his group was bombing the Capitol in 1971, I was serving in the uniform of my country. Like many veterans, when I hear that name, I can scarcely swallow the bile of my contempt for it. But Mr. Ayers is a citizen of the United States who wishes to speak, and he need not offer any more justification than that."

Via e-mail, Ayers told Inside HIgher Ed he was not surprised by the ruling. "The university put forward a pitiful and transparently dishonest case. They must have known they had no chance, but now they claim they were motivated only by protecting public safety as they wink at their donors."

The university issued a statement that it would "fully comply with the court's order and will provide appropriate security."

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