Lanker and Ayers drop lawsuit against UW
Freedom of Speech lawsuit
by Pinedale Online!
May 19, 2010
The Laramie Boomerang posted a story saying University of Wyoming student Meghan Lanker and Bill Ayers agreed to drop their lawsuit against the University of Wyoming.
Controversy began when the University of Wyoming Social Justice Research Center invited Bill Ayers as their 2010 Spring guest Lecturer to speak in a program entitled, "Trudge toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action," in the Education Auditorium on April 5, 2010. Ayers's visit came from the budget of the Center, which is funded from an endowed gift made to the University by an anonymous donor.
The University received numerous complaints from citizens and alumni regarding the school inviting Ayers, in large part objecting to his radical background. Ayers co-founded the Weather Underground in 1969, a self-described communist revolutionary group and radical left organization that conducted a campaign of bombing public buildings during the 1960s and 1970s, motivated by U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Their goal of the Weather Underground was to create a clandestine revolutionary party for the violent overthrow of the US government.
The director of the Social Justice Research Center subsequently cancelled the scheduled appearance and "disinvited" Ayers, apologizing to the University community for any harm that might have come from the invitation. UW got into trouble when they took the next step of banning Ayers from renting any University facilities himself and speaking on the campus.
The incident has generated much debate and interesting discussion over the nuances of the issues of freedom of speech and rights granted by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. UW was required by law to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees in the case, which were said to be $50,000.