.- St. Maryâs College in Moraga, California has invited the sixties radical Bill Ayers to speak in a lecture series titled âAgainst the Grain.â The college says Ayers will âdiscuss his life and work and their inevitable intersection in the pursuit of social justice.â
Ayers, presently an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, co-founded the Weather Underground in 1969. Originally called the Weathermen, the Weather Underground was a left-wing terrorist group that planted bombs in public buildings, including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, and a New York City police station, the California Catholic Daily reports.
President Obamaâs connections to Ayers were a topic of controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Saint Maryâs College has about 4,500 students and is run by the Christian Brothers. The collegeâs announcement says its lecture series forces students to âstep out of their comfort zonesâ and âexplore new intellectual territory.â
The collegeâs announcement of Ayersâ Jan. 28 lecture says he is ânoted for his work in education reform and also for his controversial history as a founder of the Weather Underground.â
A group called the âSimple Justiceâ¦ Not Social Justice Coalitionâ has announced that it will sponsor educational activities on the day of Ayersâ lecture to speak out against his presence.
âWe intend to peacefully counter Ayersâ hateful ideology, which is not compatible with Americaâs most noble traditions,â the coalition said in a statement, adding that a rally and vigil will be held before and during Ayersâ speech outside of the collegeâs Soda Center, the eventâs venue.
According to the California Catholic Daily, the coalition called the Weather Underground a âdomestic terrorist organizationâ and charged Ayers with being âpersonally involved in a campaign of violenceâ and bombings.
âOn March 6, 1970 Ayersâ then-girlfriend, Diana Oughton, was killed along with two accomplices when the bomb which they were building prematurely detonated,â the coalition charged. âThat bomb was going to be used to kill American soldiers at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. Ayers remains completely unapologetic about his violent past and was quoted as saying he wished he had âdone more.ââ
Ayersâ lecture reportedly will be on the topic âTrudging Toward Freedom.â