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University of Illinois Faculty Rally Behind Bill Ayers


"The chair had a conflict of interest..."

As we reported last month, the University of Illinois voted to deny 1960s radical William Ayers emeritus faculty status after trustees Chairman Christopher Kennedy objected to Ayers' book dedicate to, among others, the man who killed Kennedy's father, Robert F. Kennedy.  All nine voting university trustees either opposed granting Ayers the honorary status or abstained from the vote.

But Ayers' fellow faculty members may be organizing a protest to repeal the decision.  The Chicago Tribune reports:

Faculty leaders at the University of Illinois-Chicago are weighing whether to ask the board of trustees to reconsider its controversial decision to deny emeritus status to retired professor William Ayers. ...

Some university faculty members, writing on an internal faculty e-mail service, have expressed concerns that the board turned what should have been a routine academic decision into a personal one.

In a proposed resolution, Elliott Kaufman, a retired professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, suggested that the Faculty Senate ask the board to reconsider.

"The chair had a conflict of interest and he put the other trustees in an impossible position," he said in an interview. "He drew a dotted line between the assassination of the Kennedy brothers and giving Bill Ayers emeritus status. The result is what we got, and I just don't think it was a fair way to do it."

The university's Senate Executive Committee will take up the issue next week, said committee Chairman Philip Patston, a professor of oral medicine.

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