Formerly Radical, Formerly Academic

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William Ayers, education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and founder of the revolutionary Weather Underground, is retiring.

According to a piece by Duaa Eldeib at Chicago Breaking News:

For leaders at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the planned retirement from teaching of former Vietnam War-era radical William Ayers will be a great loss.

Not to everyone, however:

Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, welcomed the news of Ayers’ retirement. In 2009, Bomke introduced a bill that would have banned anyone who committed an act of violence against the government from working at a public university. The measure didn’t make it out of committee, Bomke said.”I wish him the best,” Bomke said. “(But) I’m glad he’s retiring.

Ayers, who was responsible for several bombing attempts (including one in a bathroom at the Pentagon) during his time as a radical, is probably the most famous person ever involved with UIC.

Since 1987 he has been a professor at UIC, focusing mostly on social justice issues in elementary schools. In the 1990s Ayers had some contact with Barack Obama through their mutual involvement with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a nonprofit organization that raised money for schools.

This relationship led Sarah Palin to say that Obama was “palling around with terrorists” back in October, 2008. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer