U of I Board of Trustees Denies Ayers Emeritus Status
The University of Illinois Board of Trustees has denied controversial professor and Vietnam War protester William Ayers an emeritus faculty position.
Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to deny Ayers the position. He recently announced his retirement in August after more than 20 years as an education professor on the Chicago campus. The vote followed a speech by board chairman Christopher Kennedy.
"I intend to vote against conferring the honorific title of our university whose body of work includes a book dedicated in part to the man who murdered my father, Robert F. Kennedy," he said. "There is nothing more antithetical to the hopes for a university that is lively and yet civil then to permanently seal off debate with ones opponent by killing them."
Williams Ayers co-authored the 1974 book "Prairie Fire", which was billed as "a political statement of the Weather Underground", and included Robert Kennedy's assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, among more than 200 people listed in its dedication.
Ayers, who taught on the Chicago Campus, co-founded the Weather Underground, an anti-war group held responsible for a series of bombings in the 1960s. They included nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.