Employees of Ohio universities support William Ayers

The following names appear on a petition supporting William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist with numerous close ties to Barack Obama.
Cleveland State University: Dinah Volk
Kent State University: Richard P. Ambrose, Janice Kroeger, Teresa J. Rishel, Tricia Niesz, Walter S. Gershon, Nancy Mellin McCracken (Prof. Emerita)
Miami University: Deborah Lyons, Dennis Carlson, Kathleen Knight Abowitz, Sheri L. Leafgren
Oberlin College: Marc Blecher, Martha Collins, Stephen Crowley, Steven Volk
Ohio Center for Native American Affairs: Regina Landeros-Thomas
Ohio State University: Amy Shuman, David Bloome, Rick Voithofer , Suzanne Damarin, Amy Wolfe, Cynthia Dillard, George E. Newell, Joshua J. Kurz (PhD Student)
Ohio University: Jaylynne N. Hutchinson
University of Akron: William H. Thelin, Rebecca A. McElfresh, Sandra Spickard Prettyman
Here’s the text of the petition:

We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack. Ayers is a nationally known scholar, member of the Faculty Senate at UIC, Vice President-elect of the American Educational Research Association, and sought after as a speaker and visiting scholar by other universities because of his exemplary scholarship, teaching, and service. Throughout the 20 years that he has been a valued faculty member at UIC, he has taught, advised, mentored, and supported hundreds of undergraduate, Masters and Ph.D. students. He has pushed them to take seriously their responsibilities as educators in a democracy – to promote critical inquiry, dialogue, and debate; to encourage questioning and independent thinking; to value the full humanity of every person and to work for access and equity. Helping educators develop the capacity and ethical commitment to these responsibilities is at the core of what we do, and as a teacher he has always embraced debate and multiple perspectives.
All citizens, but particularly teachers and scholars, are called upon to challenge orthodoxy, dogma, and mindless complacency, to be skeptical of authoritative claims, to interrogate and trouble the given and the taken-for-granted. Without critical dialogue and dissent we would likely be burning witches and enslaving our fellow human beings to this day. The growth of knowledge, insight, and understanding— the possibility of change— depends on that kind of effort, and the inevitable clash of ideas that follows should be celebrated and nourished rather than crushed. Teachers have a heavy responsibility, a moral obligation, to organize classrooms as sites of open discussion, free of coercion or intimidation. By all accounts Professor Ayers meets this standard. His classes are fully enrolled, and students welcome the exchange of views that he encourages.
The current characterizations of Professor Ayers — “unrepentant terrorist,” “lunatic leftist” — are unrecognizable to those who know or work with him. It’s true that Professor Ayers participated passionately in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s, as did hundreds of thousands of Americans. His participation in political activity 40 years ago is history; what is most relevant now is his continued engagement in progressive causes, and his exemplary contribution — including publishing 16 books — to the field of education. The current attacks appear as part of a pattern of “exposés” and assaults designed to intimidate free thinking and stifle critical dialogue. Like crusades against high school and elementary teachers, and faculty at UCLA, Columbia, DePaul, and the University of Colorado, the attacks on and the character assassination of Ayers threaten the university as a space of open inquiry and debate, and threaten schools as places of compassion, imagination, curiosity, and free thought. They serve as warnings that anyone who voices perspectives and advances questions that challenge orthodoxy and political power may become a target, and this, then, casts a chill over free speech and inquiry and the spirit of democracy.
We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.

It’s possible that some of the names were entered by someone else, since conservative pundits Jonah Goldberg, Kathryn Jean Lopez and Mark Levin appear on the list. But how likely is it that some prankster would go to the trouble of looking up the names of actual university employees? Padding a petition doesn’t require that much effort. The most plausible explanation is that the names are legitimate.
Do students, their parents, and alumni want their tuition money and their donations paying the salaries of these people? Do Ohio taxpayers want their tax dollars supporting these terrorist sympathizers?
H/T: American Thinker

Comments are closed.