Monday, March 23, 2009

Should They Be Allowed To Visit, Talk?

MILLERSVILLE UNIVERSITY recently invited William Ayers to speak at the Pennsylvania college, and not everyone was excited.

Ayers, a 1960's anti-Vietnam war protester who was a fugitive from the law after allegedly bombing several government buildings, is now a education professor at the University of Illinois. He most recently made headlines during the presidential campaign as he served on a board with Barack Obama from 1999 to 2002.

The government considered Ayers a domestic terrorist. Charges were ultimately dropped but some people see the man as the enemy.

Should the university have allowed Ayers to visit?

Similar situations have arisen in recent years, like when Columbia University allowed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (pictured above) to speak on campus. Some St. Joe's students and staff protested when former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was the commencement speaker there.

Is this a matter of free speech? Or should we not allow our enemies to infiltrate our worlds?


Anonymous said...

I think that they should be allowed to speak. We all love freedom of speech until someone says something we don’t like. I don’t like any of the three people mentioned or there beliefs and ideals, but in this country they have the right to express their opinion. The best way to fight back against them is to not listen to them.

- Anthony Brown

Greg Trainor said...

I never understood why this was a big deal. Shutting out someone like Ahmadinejad gives him legitimacy. If we really believe what we say we do about the world, and especially about free speech this would be a non-issue.

Where's the harm? Does anyone really think that Ahmadinejad is going to convince American college students that the holocaust didn't happen or that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth? At Columbia University?

Andrea Symonds said...

He allegedly bombed the government buildings, but they couldn't prove it. Is it wrong to be a against war??? I was under the impression that the 1st amendment allowed us to voice our opinion. I don't want to play the race card but I think the fact that he's of Middle Eastern decent only increases the suspicion of his past as an anti-war activist. Everybody is a terrorist all of a sudden. Everybody who spoke their mind was a "commie" about 45 yrs ago. Looks like the torch has been passed to the "terrorist."

Anonymous said...

Freedom of speech on college campus, what a joke. As long as your speech is liberal you have the right to speak it. Would you have any problem with Palin doing the commencement? How about Bush?
Andrea, we as Americans have the right to free speech. You don't have the right to blow up things or to even make threats. His group, The Weatherman Underground
set off bombs in the Capital, the Pentagon, and 1 bomb which was going to be set off at a Armed Forces dance at Fort Dix, instead blew up in their Greenwich Village apartment killing 4 members. I would absolutly love to meet him so I could express my free speech. Andrea, you need to do your research. Ayers is not of "middle eastern" decent. He was born in Illinois.
Paul Klein
former student

Brittney Corridean said...

I think he should be allowed to speak. His presentation would probably be very interesting and different from what any other visitor might have to say. It's definitely controversial, but almost anything is when your in college these days.

Andrea said...

Point taken, I thought the picture was of him.

Amanda DiStefano said...

I agree with Brittney. I love to hear all sides of something so his prsentation would most likely be something different we have not heard before. It's better to TALK about issues, even "sensitive" ones then try to sweep things (or people) under the carpet.

Amanda DiStefano
(current JnS Student)

Anonymous said...

Again I ask you, how about Bush or Palin, or dare I say Ann Culter (sp)or Rush?
Paul Klein
Moderate Independant Dem and damn proud of it.

Geo said...

I think it'd be awesome if George W. Bush spoke at commencement. Hell, I'd love to interview him.

I'm not a fan of Rush or Ann Coulter ... I don't like ideologues (including Keith Olbermann, Anderson Cooper, Oprah, Barry Bonds, Pamela Anderson Lee, all of the experts on CNN and most of the "contributors" at Fox News). I'd listen to anyone who was open to having a discussion.

I e-mailed Smerconish in December, inviting him to speak to class. He never responded.

- George
(the teacher who thinks dialogue is valuable, but fears most politicians wouldn't be forthcoming enough to make the experience worthwhile)