By Molly Messick
Laramie, Wyo. – A small group in Laramie is working to bring Bill Ayers to speak in the community, weeks after his visit to the University of Wyoming was canceled amid controversy. Ayers is a radical 1960s activist-turned-academic. U-W officials cited security concerns in canceling the scheduled appearance. Nevertheless, that decision set off a debate about academic freedom.
Donal O'Toole, a professor of veterinary sciences, says he thinks it's important that Ayers be allowed to speak in Laramie soon. "I think it is, to use an awful phrase, a teachable moment, so I would really like to see Ayers in the community talking to folks before the end of the semester," he said.
O'Toole says he views re-inviting Ayers as taking a stand for free speech in Wyoming. He is among those working to bring Ayers to Laramie, but he says he's not sure yet where the appearance might take place.