October 22, 2008

Roellke And 3,000 Others Pledge Support For Ayers

An endorsement of support for controversial figure Bill Ayers has been circulating on the internet, and so far over 3,000 faculty members from schools around the country have signed on.

Mr. Ayers taught as a visiting professor at Vassar some years ago.

Dean Roellke and Geography Professor Joseph Nevins are the only faculty members from Vassar to sign the endorsement.

Update: Dean Roellke is defending his decision to sign the endorsement. Read his exclusive statement in the comments below, or click here.


Anonymous said...

THE DEAN!?!??! that's scary.

Anonymous said...

Yo. this Guy is the timothy McVeigh of our parents generation. why the for the love God would you support him?

Anonymous said...

do you guys know what dissent is?????????

Anonymous said...

Just as Barack Obama has been extraordinarily clear about his involvement with Professor Ayers, I wish to be clear about Vassar's brief association with Mr. Ayers. No one with whom I interact is supportive of Mr. Ayers' actions years ago (at the time, Barack Obama was 8 years old, I was 5 years old).

Please take the time to better understand Mr. Ayers' contributions to the field of education--it is those contributions that brought him to Vassar.

Here is a summary of Mr. Ayers' work at Vassar (excerpted from my grant report to the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations who supported our urban education outreach work)...

With support from both the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and the Vassar College Dean of the Faculty Office, we were able to appoint William Ayers as a visiting professor of Urban Education for the 2005-06 academic year. Mr. Ayers has conducted a series of all campus events, including the Elaine Lipschutz Lecture on Multicultural Education in the Fall. For CETE alumni currently teaching in New York City, we sponsored "An Evening with Bill Ayers," a dinner and lecture designed to celebrate the accomplishments of urban teachers from Vassar, Smith, Barnard, Swarthmore and other highly selective liberal arts colleges. We held this event at Bank Street College of Education and are looking forward to planning a similar event in the 2006-07 academic year. The dinner was attended by 30 students and faculty from CETE institutions and over 150 educators participated in the lecture component of the program. Mr. Ayers is also conducting a weekly urban education reform seminar with over 40 students enrolled. For the 2006-07 academic year, we have already secured John Merrow, Peabody Award Winner and education correspondent for NEWSHOUR with Jim Lehrer to play a similar role. Though Mr. Merrow will not teach a course for us, his expertise in urban education and public policy debates will be highly valued by both our current students and our alumnae/i.

I hope this is helpful to those who may misinterpret my support for Mr. Ayers.

Sincerely yours,

Chris Roellke
Professor of Education and Acting Dean of the College

Anonymous said...

As someone who has worked closely with the VC Urban Ed. Initiative (VCUEI), one of its goals is to expose Vassar students to current educational issues, and to provide advice and tools they can use to counteract and prevent the inequality and injustice that exists in schools. Mr. Ayres was invited to VCUEI events as his involvement in and contribution to the field of education as a teacher and researcher directly related to this goal.

Co-Director, VCUEI – 2006-2008

Anonymous said...

I was a student in the education department while Mr. Ayers was a visiting professor at Vassar, and I attended a number of lectures he gave. He was also a guest lecturer for one of my education courses. When it comes to knowledge and commitment to dducation, Mr. Ayers is renound. He was the kind of professor that just made you want to listen to him speak; you couldn't write fast enough to get his ideas on paper. He has been honored by many organizations for his contributions to the field of education, and he is a tenured faculty of distinction at a reputable Uuiversity. If these are not qualities that make one want to have a professor at Vassar, I don't know what are. I am a better teacher on account of having listened to his thoughts on education, and I am thankful that he came to Vassar during my time there. Of course what he did many years ago was detestable, but that does not mean he is not an astoundingly brilliant professor of education.

Before you judge the Vassar Ed department and Dean Roellke, read the statement of support and truly consider whether this person was worthy of a visiting position at Vassar.

Liza Campbell '07
Math Educator, Brooklyn

Anonymous said...

"Renound". Give back your Vassar degree!

Anonymous said...

i know Mr. ayers work and it is just your typical run of the mill "the poor brown people have been exploited by capitalism and the whites, education should be radical and include shit like ebonics". i know vassars seem to love that stuff........but......yawwwwwn

jennifer said...

If you haven't seen this OpEd by William Ayers published in the NY Times on Dec 5th, it's worth a look: