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Expressing sadness that Ayers' visit is resisted

      I was profoundly saddened to see the Statesboro Herald headline Friday morning, "Ayers visit spawns anger, indifference." 
      Statesboro is my hometown, and Georgia Southern is my home university. The Herald, my hometown newspaper, I believe is feeding opposition to Dr. William Ayers' scheduled speech at Georgia Southern on Monday night. What a pity! 
(Interestingly, critics of Ayers’ visit should be aware that Ayers has spoken at Georgia Southern many times.) 
      Dr. Ayers is an outstanding educator (retired, University of Illinois at Chicago) and one of my favorite people in all of the broad fields of American education. I met Bill Ayers several years ago when he spoke to faculty and graduate students in the  Georgia Southern University College of Education where he has served on multiple doctoral dissertation committees.   Fortunately, to Georgia Southern’s direct benefit, for many years, Ayers has nurtured progressive intellectual growth, critical thinking skills, and devotion to social justice and peace among our faculty and graduate students—many of whom continue to work tirelessly in diverse fields and disciplines … for a better world.  
      One of the most engaging speakers I have ever heard, Dr. Ayers is a marvelous, compassionate, intellectual human being who is passionate about education. He is inspiring to all who seek to become intellectual leaders for change – for social justice, democracy and equality.
      He is not coming to Georgia Southern to incite a riot or instigate a revolution. If any of you reading this note have opportunity to hear Dr. Ayers speak, please take advantage of it! Attend his lecture Monday night at 7 in Georgia Southern’s Performing Arts Center. 
      You will be encouraged to think deeply about the world you live in, as well as what might be the critical role you should play as a citizen of this great nation and the larger world in which we live – to educate yourself toward action for democracy, sustainability, harmony, unity, peace, and justice. I know Dr. Ayers, and I know his message. Georgia Southern University and all of our surrounding community should be honored to welcome him among us.
Rosemarie Stallworth-Clark, Ph.D.
Emerita Facilitator, Peace Studies Faculty Learning Community
Georgia Southern University

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