UMass allowing Levasseur to speak

Nov. 10, 2009 at 2:06 PM

AMHERST, Mass., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The University of Massachusetts will allow a convicted domestic terrorist to speak at an on-campus event despite strong opposition, officials say.

College president Jack Wilson said that while he is personally opposed to allowing 1970s radical Raymond Luc Levasseur speak on the Amherst, Mass., campus Thursday, the school's academic freedom rules stipulate that he must able to do so, The Boston Herald reported Tuesday.

"I am opposed to convicted terrorist Raymond Luc Levasseur speaking at the University of Massachusetts," Wilson said. "The University of Massachusetts stands squarely against the outrageous actions he has committed in the past. As a university, we defend the principles of free speech and of academic freedom. However, we deplore the example Levasseur sets for our students and the University community."

Levasseur's group, the United Freedom Front, was linked to some 20 bombings, including one at the Suffolk County Courthouse in 1976, and was blamed for the slaying of a New Jersey state trooper and a shootout with Massachusetts state troopers.

Police critics of the plan had thought they had succeeded in preventing Levasseur's speech, but UMass officials did an about-face, drawing the criticism of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the Herald said.

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