State Senator Calls For Cancellation Of Bill Ayers Speech
Eric Barron is being called upon to cancel students’ plans to have controversial figure Bill Ayers speak on campus next week.
In a letter sent to Barron on Friday by state senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, Barron was urged to cancel Ayers’ speaking engagements at Penn State and forward him any information related to the costs of hosting Ayers.
“The decision to allow Mr. Ayers to address your students and faculty in light of his violent past is difficult for me to reconcile,” Scarnati wrote in the letter.
Ayers is scheduled to speak as part of a panel on the “school to prison pipeline” at the Dickinson School of Law on March 19, according to the Associated Press. The event is cosponsored by the Law and Education Alliance at Penn State and the Pennsylvania Education Equity Project. On March 20, Ayers is scheduled to speak to the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Student Association at Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, which will include a workshop on teaching toward democracy and involve a presentation on the political correctness of diversity.
In a response to the Associated Press, Penn State spokesperson Lisa Powers clarified the events were organized by students and are not being paid for through the use of state funds, instead being funded by the student activity fee.
“They are free to sponsor programs and speakers, however controversial, without censorship by the university. Of course, the presence of any speaker cannot be taken as an endorsement by the university of his/her views,” Powers said.
She added Barron is currently traveling and has yet to see Scarnati’s letter.
Ayers is known as a member of the “Weather Underground,” a domestic terrorism organization during the Vietnam War. He participated in the bombings of the New York City Police Department Headquarters in 1970, the United States Capitol in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. Ayers turned himself in to authorities in 1980, but his charges were dropped amid allegations that the FBI used illegal methods to investigate the group.