The 1960s and ‘70s radical William Ayers caused plenty of trouble for Barack Obama during the presidential campaign because of the president’s ties to him.
But Brandeis University apparently isn’t worried about being connected to Ayers, co-founder of the militant Weather Underground group in 1969.
The Waltham, Mass. school will host a speech by Ayers, now an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, next Thursday.
“This is about freedom of educational opportunity," Brandeis spokesman Dennis Nealon told The Boston Globe.
"The university has made it clear that it is not going to bar the talk despite the controversial nature of the speaker."
Lev Hirschhorn, a campaign coordinator for Democracy for America, one of two student groups that invited Ayers, told The Globe Ayers will speak about lessons learned from the anti-Vietnam war movement.
“He might have some interesting insights about the successes and the failures of the movement," Hirschhorn says.
Boston College cancelled a speech by Ayers scheduled for March 30. The cancellation came after Boston residents and police objected because a Boston policeman was killed during a 1970 bank robbery by radicals believed to be connected with the Weather Underground.
Two of those involved in the robbery were Brandeis students.
Ayers served on two non-profit boards with Obama. In 1995, Ayers hosted a campaign event for Obama’s State Senate bid at his home.
It was Hillary Clinton rather than Republicans who first took Obama to task for his ties to Ayers – in February 2008.
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