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posted: 9/23/2013 11:52 AM

ECC should halt plan for Ayers speech

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An open letter to Dr. David Sam, President, Elgin Community College:

We had the pleasure of meeting you at the dedication of the brick walk honoring ECC alumni last fall. As you remember, we were among the oldest alumni in attendance having received our associate degrees in 1955 and 1956. ECC holds a special place in our hearts since it brought the two of us together, and we will celebrate our 56th wedding anniversary next April. We were giving serious consideration to including a bequest to ECC in our wills, but that will be on hold if your plan to feature William Ayers as the highlight speaker of the Humanities Speakers Series does in fact take place.

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You cannot imagine how disappointed and heartsick we were to read about this development in Saturday's edition of the Daily Herald. We were young adults when Ayers and Dohrn were making (small?) bombs and using them, directly causing the death of at least one human being. At that time, we had friends and relatives in Vietnam defending Ayers' right to express his views without fear. Some of them never made it home. They were not there to defend anyone's right to commit acts of terrorism.

William Ayers' viewpoint should not be included in the "variety of viewpoints" in the marketplace of ideas you propose to expose in this series. What he has done deserves jail time, not the honor of being a highlighted speaker at a respected educational institution. Because of legal technicalities (mistakes in the FBI investigation), this man and his equally guilty spouse have never paid for the heinous acts they perpetrated on innocent people.

We are requesting that you seriously reconsider your plan to include this person in your series.

Robert and Barbara (Lazansky) Haase

St. Charles

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