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Former terrorist Bill Ayers to be panelist at Penn State

Former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers is scheduled to appear at Penn State on March 19 — as a panelist at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law.

This doesn’t sit well with (the State Senate’s) President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, who, besides denouncing the general decision to invite Ayers, wants to be sure no taxpayer funding is fitting the bill.

The Associated Press reports:

“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.

A university spokeswoman said the appearances were organized by student leaders with student activity fees and would not use state funds.

“They are free to sponsor programs and speakers, however controversial, without censorship by the university,” said Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers. “Of course, the presence of any speaker cannot be taken as an endorsement by the university of his/her views.”

She said [PSU president Eric] Barron was traveling and had not seen Scarnati’s letter.

Student activity fees, however, are paid by every Penn State student. This was the issue recently at USC, where College Republicans there objected to student fees paying for an appearance by radical Angela Davis.

The USC Republicans noted they paid for an appearance by “controversial” Ann Coulter with their own funds.

Ayers’ Weather Underground was behind several domestic terror bombings during the Vietnam War, including at the Capitol and Pentagon.

Ayers himself was a fugitive until 1980, and charges against him were eventually dropped “over issues related to the government’s methods of investigating him.”

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.