All Posts Tagged With: "Weather Underground"
Former radical militant denied entry to Canada in 2009, scheduled to return in June
In about a month and a half’s time, former education professor and intellectual theorist Bill Ayers will try to enter Canada to speak at a higher-ed conference being held in Toronto in June. However, the last time he tried to do that, he didn’t quite make it to the podium. Back in 2009, Ayers was stopped by Canada Border Services Agency in a detention he called “arbitrary.” “The border agent said I had a conviction for a felony from 1969,” he remarked at the time. “I have several arrests for misdemeanours, but not for felonies.”
Ayers has a less-than-stellar resume from a border agent’s perspective–there’s no doubt about that. In 1969, he co-founded a group called the Weather Underground that was vehemently opposed to the Vietnam War and expressed its disapproval through coordinated bombings of public buildings. The Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, and New York City police headquarters were all targeted by the Weather Underground. When that shtick got old, he eventually moved on to work in education reform, becoming a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, but didn’t really become a household name until 2008 when he was connected to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.
It was then that Ayers’ past started garnering widespread attention. Public appearances and speaking engagements featuring Ayers were cancelled, and of course, it wasn’t long after that Ayers found himself being denied entry to Canada, despite having visited more than a dozen times.
Now, the organizers of the Worldviews Conference on Media scheduled this June are looking to the Government of Canada to ensure Ayers makes it in this time. They issued a press release last week in which Prof. Mark Langer, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) said, “This is an issue of academic freedom, not one of a potential ‘threat’ to Canadian security. In the interests of open debate and the democratic exchange of ideas, Prof. Ayers must be allowed to speak.”
Former militant, current education professor was last turned away in January
The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that William Ayers, the Chicago-based education professor who was denied entry into Canada last January, has been barred from coming to Ottawa to speak at a major academic conference.
He was set to speak today at a humanities and social sciences conference hosted by the Canadian Society for the Study of Education.
Although Ayers was a co-founder of the radical group Weather Underground in the 1960s, he has since made a name for himself in the field of education. He was set to prepare a lecture entitled “Bridges and Borders: Democratic Education in a Time of Crisis.”
The talk was expected to draw a crowd at the conference, which was expected to attract around 8,000 academics to Carleton University.
However, according to the Citizen, Ayers called conference organizers a few days ago and said he couldn’t get an entry visa.
A conference organizer says Ayers will still deliver his Monday lecture by video conference.
“We’re disappointed,” she said. “We were happy to have him come and speak. And so were our members.”
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