Media Frenzy Outstrips Academic Freedom, Again


It worked with Ward Churchill, I suppose. Who cares about academic freedom, really?

UPDATE: Not even by satellite!

Boston College, citing pressure from Brighton residents and Boston police officers, refused to allow former radical William Ayers to deliver a student-sponsored lecture via satellite yesterday, frustrating student organizers who accused the college of sacrificing academic ideals to assuage public anger. The move, capping a four-day controversy, followed the college’s previous decision to bar Ayers from coming to the campus.

From Inside Higher Ed

The norm for protests over a William Ayers appearance on campus these days is for conservative critics to say that the University of Illinois at Chicago professor shouldn’t be given a forum to speak because of the past violence of the Weather Underground, of which he was once a leader.

At Boston College, the debate has taken a new twist — with the college calling off a talk by Ayers planned for tonight and citing a police killing that has never been definitively linked to the Weather Underground and that Ayers and others insist his group had nothing to do with. Nonetheless, that 1970 police killing is still associated by many in Boston with the Weather Underground and remains a political flashpoint — as became clear on Friday.

Michael Graham, a local talk radio host, started calling on Boston College to revoke the invitation to Ayers, and he encouraged alumni, donors and others to call the college to demand that it deny Ayers a forum. Graham repeatedly linked Ayers and the Weather Underground to the 1970 killing of Walter Schroeder, the police officer, who was responding to a bank robbery by a group of radical students. Schroeder left a wife and nine children. His killing is periodically back in the news, and last received extensive coverage in 1993, when Katherine Ann Power — one of those involved in the incident, who had evaded capture and lived under another name — turned herself in.

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