Push to fire Ayers called 'frivolous'

Feb. 7, 2009 at 10:02 AM
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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."

Ayers, a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a co-founder of the anti-Vietnam War group the Weather Underground, said Friday a proposal by state Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, is "frivolous" and that state lawmakers have more important things to do, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Republican's proposal seeks to forbid a public university from employing someone who has "committed a violent act" against the United States or Illinois. The Weather Underground set off bombs at government buildings to protest the Vietnam War, and in a 2001 book Ayers said he participated in the acts but never hurt anyone. Charges were filed against him but were dropped in 1973, the newspaper said.

Bomke, Ayers said, is "working off of a Fox News paradigm."

"This is absurd. It's a waste of time," the 64-year-old said in a speech at Riverside-Brookfield High School in suburban Chicago.

Ayers' militant past and casual 1990s contacts with U.S. President Barack Obama in Chicago education circles served as fuel for critics of Obama's election campaign.

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