In September, 1960s radical and retired professor William Ayers was denied emeritus faculty status by the University of Illinois at Chicago for an alleged book dedication to Sirhan Sirhan, the man who shot and killer Robert F. Kennedy.
The decision came after a plea by U of I Chairman Christopher Kennedy–RFK’s son–who told board members that “there can be no place in a democracy to celebrate political assassinations or to honor those who do so.”
But now the UIC Senate is asking the university’s board of trustees to reconsider their September decision, and Ayers told the Chicago Sun-Times that there is “not a shred of truth” to the Sirhan Sirhan dedication.
Ayers told the paper he has never dedicated a book to RFK’s killer, and that the rumor was invented by right-wing bloggers.
From the Sun-Times:
The book was “dedicated to some very weird people, starting with John Brown and Harriet Tubman,” he said. Sirhan Sirhan’s name is listed with dozens of others on a page in the book, which also reads “To All Who Continue to Fight” and “To All Political Prisoners in the U.S.”
Ayers announced his retirement in August after more than 20 years as an education professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Before his career in education, Ayers was a fugitive for his role with the Weather Underground until surrendering in 1980. Charges against him were dropped because of government misconduct.
While Ayers said he was not seeking emeritus status, but said he thought the board made a mistake in not granting it. A spokesman for the university told the Sun-Times the school received positive feedback from students for their decision not to grant Ayers emeritus status.