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Ayers doesn’t deserve recognition

Kudos to University of Illinois Board Chairman Chris Kennedy and the university's Board of Trustees for unanimously denying the prestigious title of professor emeritus to William Ayers, who never should have been on the faculty in the first place. One wonders why Mr. Ayers would even be interested in such a "bourgeois" accolade.

As the baby-boomer generation came of age during the 1960s and '70s, there was considerable political and social turmoil. The Vietnam War provided a catalyst for much of the chaos, giving rise to violent, radical groups such as Mr. Ayers' Weather Underground. Most, regardless of political affiliation, viewed the Weathermen as lunatic fringe.

Mr. Ayers, who came from an affluent and prominent Chicago family, typified many of the spoiled rich kids who wanted to play "revolutionary." I can assure you they were regarded as objects of derision and scorn by many of their generational peers, particularly those of us who served time in the military. They were self-absorbed narcissists whose tantrums sought to destroy the very system that gave them privilege. Mr. Ayers and his ilk indulged their malicious hatred with no regard for the consequences to others. Their actions resulted in the deaths of at least two policemen as well as two of the bomb-makers. The only practical difference between Mr. Ayers and Timothy McVeigh was competence.

He thus was and is an unrepentant punk, a free man today only because of the protections afforded him by the system he sought to destroy. After all charges stemming from the bombings and other crimes were dropped because wiretap evidence was not allowed, Mr. Ayers smugly commented to the press that he was "free as a bird, and guilty as hell." To this day, when asked about the crimes, he says his only regret is that he "didn't do enough."

Thank you, Mr. Kennedy and UIC, for preventing a travesty of justice from occurring.

JAMES E. MCNALLY

Chicago

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