Memo to the AERA: Breaking up with Bill Ayers isn't hard to do

Anyone who's been following politics lately knows that Senator Barack Obama's relationship with unrepentant bomber and former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers has become a matter of debate in the 2008 campaign.

What's beyond debate, however, is Ayers's connection to Arnetha F. Ball of Stanford University; Nancy Beadie of the University of Washington; Mark Berends of Vanderbilt University; Linda L. Cook of Educational Testing Service; David J. Flinders of Indiana University; Steve A. Henry of Topeka Public Schools; Joan L. Herman of the University of California-Los Angeles; Cynthia A. Hudley of the University of California, Santa Barbara; Carol D. Lee of Northwestern University; Richard E. Mayer of the University of California - Santa Barbara; Patricia S. O'Sullivan of the University of California, San Francisco; Robert J. Stahl of Arizona State University; William G. Tierney of the University of Southern California; Linda C. Tillman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Susan B. Twombly of Kansas University.

That's because these are the members of the Association Council of the American Educational Research Association--a group that Ayers will join next year after his election in March as AERA's Vice President-Elect of Curriculum Studies. (Hat tip to Sol Stern.)

The Council might consider whether it's prudent to allow a former terrorist to join its ranks--particularly a man who said as late as 2001 that "I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough."

Here's the good news: the Council has the authority to keep this development from happening. While AERA's bylaws don't mention any provision for removing elected officials from their positions, they do grant the Council the right to strip anyone's association membership, which would have the same effect. The bylaws read: "If continued membership of any person is believed to be contrary to the interests or purposes of the Association, Council may terminate membership based on procedures established by the Council."

Is there any doubt that the election of a former terrorist to the organization's governance body is "contrary to the interests" of the Association?

Out of political necessity, Obama is already distancing himself from Ayers, and most likely will do more of that in coming months. When the AERA's Association Council meets next month, it should do the same.

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