The University of Illinois Board of Trustees unanimously voted against granting professor emeritus status for retired professor Bill Ayers on Thursday. Chris Kennedy, chairman of the board and son of Robert F. Kennedy, led the charge for the vote.
After more than 20 years as a professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Ayers retired in August. In the 1960s, Ayers co-founded the Weather Underground, an anti-war group that used terrorist tactics, including bombings, at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.
One of Ayers’ books, a manifesto for the Weather Underground called “Prairie Fire,” was dedicated to Sirhan Sirhan, the man who killed Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Ayers said in 2008 that “it was a stupid thing to single him out.”
“I intend to vote against conferring the honorific title of our University to a man whose body of work includes a book dedicated in part to the man who murdered my father, Robert F. Kennedy,” Kennedy said in prepared remarks at the board meeting. “There can be no place in a democracy to celebrate political assassinations or to honor those who do so.”