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Boston students to host Ayers off-campus

  |   March 29, 2009 at 3:30 PM
BOSTON, March 29 (UPI) -- Boston College students say they will stage a lecture by William Ayers off campus after school officials banned him from speaking.

Melissa Roberts, vice president of College Democrats of Boston College, told The Boston Globe the group was looking for an off-campus venue for the Monday visit by Ayers, a University of Illinois at Chicago education professor who is controversial for his past as a member of the 1960s radical group Weather Underground.

Boston College officials last week canceled Ayers' lecture, "The State of Democracy in America," issuing a statement to the newspaper saying they were concerned "for the safety and well being of our students" and citing the "alleged involvement" of the Weather Underground in the 1970 slaying of a Boston police officer.

Ayers also emerged as a controversial figure during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign when opponents of Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama spotlighted his acquaintance with Ayers from urban education policy issues.

"It's kind of a shameful thing to the administration because one can certainly understand why in Saudi Arabia or Serbia or China speakers would be canceled for a variety of reasons," Ayers told the Globe. "But in the U.S., in a democracy, that doesn't make sense."

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