UIC debates 'emeritus' title for Ayers

CHICAGO, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Former Weather Underground leader William Ayers is again at the center of debate, this time at his Chicago university.

Radical turned teacher is retiring

CHICAGO, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- William Ayers, former Vietnam War era radical turned education professor, will retire after two decades at the University of Illinois, a school official said.

Former radical to speak at university

LARAMIE, Wyo., April 28 (UPI) -- The University of Wyoming says it will comply with a federal court order to allow '60s radical William Ayers to speak on campus Wednesday night.

Witness drops out of doctor's molest case

SAN MATEO, Calif., June 24 (UPI) -- A prosecutor said a key witness in the child-molestation case against a California psychiatrist couldn't go through with testifying in court.

Boston students to host Ayers off-campus

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.

Push to fire Ayers called 'frivolous'

CHICAGO, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Chicago educator and former 1960s and '70s radical William Ayers says an effort to fire him from his state university teaching job is "frivolous."

Bill would fire ex-Weatherman Ayers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- An Illinois lawmaker says he wants to fire university professor William Ayers because of Ayers' 1960s and '70s involvement in the radical group the Weathermen.

Canada bars U.S. anti-war radical Ayers

TORONTO, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- William Ayers, a U.S. education professor from Chicago with a radical past including bombings in the 1960s and 1970s, was denied entry into Canada.

Ayers talk at Northwestern postponed

EVANSTON, Ill., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A talk former 1960s radical William Ayers was scheduled to give this week at Northwestern University outside Chicago has been postponed.

Ayers: Association with Obama professional

CHICAGO, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- One-time radical William Ayers said Friday the Republican Party "demonized" his militant past to wage a campaign of fear against Barack Obama.

Ayers asks what he could add to discussion

CHICAGO, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The Chicago '60s radical whose association with Barack Obama Republicans say leads to questions about the Democrat's judgment is keeping a low profile.

McCain says Ayers to come up at debate

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Republican presidential hopeful John McCain said Tuesday that Democrat Brack Obama's association with a 1960s radical will come up in their debate Wednesday.

GOP leader: Obama, bin Laden alike

RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama is like al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden because they both have terrorist "friends," a GOP leader says.

McCain questions Obama's associations

WAUKESHA, Wis., Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Republican U.S. presidential nominee John McCain on Thursday again questioned Democrat Barack Obama's association with former radical William Ayers.
GOP: Obama is terrorist's 'best friend'

GOP: Obama is terrorist's 'best friend'

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 6 (UPI) -- The chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania Monday called Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama "a terrorist's best friend."
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William Charles "Bill" Ayers (born December 26, 1944) is an American elementary education theorist and a former leader in the movement that opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He is known for the radical nature of his 1960's activism as well as his current work in education reform, curriculum, and instruction. In 1969 he co-founded the Weather Underground, a communist revolutionary group that conducted a campaign of bombing public buildings during the 1960s and 1970s motivated by US involvement in the Vietnam War. He is now a professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, holding the titles of Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, a controversy arose over his past contacts with candidate Barack Obama.

Ayers grew up in Glen Ellyn, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. He attended public schools there until his second year in high school, when he transferred to Lake Forest Academy, a small prep school. Ayers earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan in American Studies in 1968. (His father, mother and older brother had preceded him there.) He is the son of Thomas G. Ayers, former Chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Edison (1973 to 1980), Chicago philanthropist and the namesake of the Thomas G. Ayers College of Commerce and Industry. Ayers was affected when Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) President Paul Potter, at a 1965 Ann Arbor Teach-In against the Vietnam war, asked his audience, "How will you live your life so that it doesn't make a mockery of your values?" Ayers later wrote in his memoir, Fugitive Days, that his reaction was: "You could not be a moral person with the means to act, and stand still. To stand still was to choose indifference. Indifference was the opposite of moral" In 1965, Ayers joined a picket line protesting an Ann Arbor, Michigan pizzeria for refusing to seat African Americans. His first arrest came for a sit-in at a local conscription board, resulting in 10 days in jail. His first teaching job came shortly afterward at the Children's Community School, a preschool with a very small enrollment operating in a church basement, founded by a group of students in emulation of the Summerhill method of education. The school was a part of the nationwide "free school movement". Schools in the movement had no grades or report cards, they aimed to encourage cooperation rather than competition, and the teachers had pupils address them by their first names. Within a few months, at age 21, Ayers became director of the school. There also he met Diana Oughton, who would become his girlfriend until her death in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion in 1970.

Ayers became involved in the New Left and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). He rose to national prominence as an SDS leader in 1968 and 1969. As head of an SDS regional group, the "Jesse James Gang", Ayers made decisive contributions to the Weatherman orientation toward militancy. The group Ayers headed in Detroit, Michigan became one of the earliest gatherings of what became the Weatherman. Before the June 1969 SDS convention, Ayers became a prominent leader of the group, which arose as a result of a schism in SDS. "During that time his infatuation with street fighting grew and he developed a language of confrontational militancy that became more and more pronounced over the year ", disaffected former Weatherman member Cathy Wilkerson wrote in 2001. Ayers had previously become a roommate of Terry Robbins, a fellow militant, Wilkerson wrote. Robbins would later be killed while making a bomb. In June 1969, the Weatherman took control of the SDS at its national convention, where Ayers was elected Education Secretary. Later in 1969, Ayers participated in planting a bomb at a statue dedicated to police casualties in the 1886 Haymarket affair confrontation between labor supporters and the Chicago police. The blast broke almost 100 windows and blew pieces of the statue onto the nearby Kennedy Expressway. (The statue was rebuilt and unveiled on May 4, 1970, and blown up again by other Weathermen on October 6, 1970. Rebuilding it yet again, the city posted a 24-hour police guard to prevent another blast, and in January 1972 it was moved to Chicago police headquarters.) Ayers participated in the Days of Rage riot in Chicago in October 1969, and in December was at the "War Council" meeting in Flint, Michigan. Larry Grathwohl, a Federal Bureau of Investigation informant in the Weatherman group from the fall of 1969 to the spring of 1970, stated that "Ayers, along with Bernardine Dohrn, probably had the most authority within the Weatherman".

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