Ayers’ message of hate unacceptable in academia

By Bethany Reinhart

During the presidential campaign, William Ayers became somewhat of a household name due to his alleged connections with President-elect Barack Obama. Ayers, co-founder of the radical Weather Underground group, was linked to Obama after having served on a board with the president-elect, as well as helping to campaign for him in the ’90s.

One of the most infamous comments made during the dirt-filled campaign season came from Gov. Sarah Palin. The Republican vice presidential candidate referred to Ayers when she said Obama was “palling around with terrorists.” The comment drew sharp criticism from Obama supporters across the county. Unfortunately, by linking Obama to Ayers in the way she did, the more important message was lost. No matter what Obama’s ties to Ayers are, the point missed is that Ayers is indeed a terrorist who has walked free because of a stroke of luck and the failure of the U.S. justice system.

In a Nov. 14 interview with ABC’s Chris Cuomo on “Good Morning America,” Ayers commented on his violent past and said he felt as though he has been “demonized.” What he failed to mention were intricate details of his incredibly violent time as an anti-Vietnam War activist.

Ayers has summarized the ideology of the Weathermen by saying, “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents.” When asked in 2001 about his actions, he said, “I don’t regret setting the bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Despite his grotesque comments, both then and now, Ayers seems surprised about how people perceive him. He is great at playing the martyr, but is completely unable to take any responsibility for his actions—acts of domestic terrorism.

In all, Ayers and members of the Weather Underground group were responsible for 30 bombings. The bombs were carefully crafted and aimed to destroy U.S. defense and security infrastructures.

In 1969, Ayers participated in Chicago riots where about 300 members of Weather Underground attacked police officers and innocent civilians, destroying substantial amounts of property, through acts of arson and vandalism. Ayers also participated in the 1970 bombing of New York City Police Headquarters, the 1971 bombing of the Capitol building and the 1972 bombing of the Pentagon. When discussing the day he bombed the Pentagon, Ayers said, “Everything was absolutely ideal … The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them.”

If those are not words of a terrorist, I don’t know what is.

In 1970, three members of the Weather Underground group were killed when a nail bomb they were constructing exploded. The bomb was intended for detonation at a military dance, attended by U.S. Army soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J. Later, Ayers said that the bomb would have caused immense damage, “tearing through windows, walls and, yes, people too.”

After three members of the Weather Underground group were unexpectedly killed when that bomb exploded, Ayers and his current wife, Bernardine Dohrn, became fugitives, running from the FBI.

In 1980, Ayers and Dohrn surrendered, but all charges against them were dropped due to an improper surveillance technicality. In other words, the government failed to obtain a warrant for some of its

surveillance, and because of this, Ayers and Dohrn walk free.

Today, Ayers is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Many argue that his actions in the ’60s do not make him a terrorist. Ayers himself has said, “I was never a terrorist.” He continues to defend his actions and sticks by his 2001 statement that he “didn’t do enough.” He also continues to bluntly state his hate for the United States. In a 2001 interview, Ayers said, “What a country. It makes me want to puke.”

But when all the evidence is presented, it is clear that Ayers was, and is, the worst kind of domestic terrorist—one who not only engaged in horrific terror acts against his country, but one who also shows no sign of remorse.

In many circles of academia, Ayers is highly regarded. Though Ayers may have gotten off on a technicality, that does not exempt him from his proven record of violence. Neither he nor his wife should be allowed anywhere near a classroom—a place where they are charged with the responsibility of shaping young minds. The thought that he has the ability to spread his message of hate for America to college students is truly disturbing and shows a lack of responsibility by the administration of the UIC.