Monday, April 12, 2010

Ayers and Lane--together at last

AP, via CBS4:
A Denver lawyer says he'll sue the University of Wyoming unless it lets former 1960s radical William Ayers speak on campus.

David Lane sent the school a letter Monday saying he had been retained by student Meg Lanker. He contends the university violated the First Amendment when it canceled a speech Ayers was scheduled to give in March.

He gave the university until noon Wednesday to respond.

A university spokesman didn't immediately return messages left after business hours Monday seeking comment.

Lane previously represented former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, who was dismissed for alleged plagiarism and research misconduct following criticism of an essay in which he compared some 9/11 victims to a Nazi.
Update: Tried to find more about why Ayers was canceled, but only came up with this April 1 AP story:
The University of Wyoming has canceled a speech by former 1960s radical William Ayers after it raised hundreds of objections from citizens and politicians over the man who became an issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.

In a statement released by the university, UW President Tom Buchanan supported the decision to cancel Ayers.

"The University of Wyoming is one of the few institutions remaining in today's environment that garner the confidence of the public. The visit by Professor Ayers would have adversely impacted that reputation," Buchanan said. . . .
Ayers and Ann Coulter, together at last!

Update II: Westword's Wart-lavin' Michael Roberts adds a few quotes. And no, I don't support the university's decision to cancel Ayers, even if they're right that it would detract from the school's reputation (and they are). On the spot-the-idiot theory of the First Amendment, the more exposure the reprehensible Ayers gets, the better.

Update III: According to this, Lane was to file suit this morning.

Update IV: Suit filed. And a little more info on the circumstances from the Casper Star-Tribune (top local story: "Another arrest made in Gillette outhouse explosion"):
Late last month, the UW Social Justice Research Center canceled plans for Ayers to visit campus on April 5-6, after the center and university administrators received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails voicing outrage that the school would invite someone with Ayers' past to campus. Some of the messages threatened to cut off funding to the university or even violence if Ayers showed up.

Angry about the cancellation, Lanker and the Secular Student Alliance, a UW-recognized group, arranged to bring Ayers back to campus and tried to reserve a room in UW's Classroom Building for him to deliver his lecture on education theory.

But when Lanker told UW Provost Myron Allen of her plans last Thursday, he was immediately resistant to the idea, suggesting Ayers' visit would hurt the university and cause many donors to stop giving to the school, according to the lawsuit.

"You need to think about the fact that there are people higher up than me that have trump cards and that this is not a teachable moment," the lawsuit quoted Allen as telling Lanker. "This will inflame public sentiments."

The following day, the Secular Student Alliance withdrew its sponsorship of Ayers' lecture because of pressure from the university, according to the lawsuit.

With the student group out, Lanker attempted to rent the UniWyo Dome as a community member. But soon afterward, she received a phone call and e-mail from UW attorney Susan Weidel telling her that she couldn't rent any university venue for Ayers' lecture.
You'll see in the story that Ayers is going to show up anyway, in the manner of Wart and his amazingly short-lived rump classes on the CU campus after he was fired.

No comments: