LARAMIE, Wyo. — Security was heightened as William Ayers delivered a speech at the University of Wyoming yesterday, but only a handful of demonstrators rallied against the 1960s radical after a federal judge forced the university to host him.
About 1,100 people went through bag and coat searches to enter the event in a campus gym. About 10 protesters gathered outside the entrance, carrying American flags and denouncing Ayers for his antiwar activities in the Vietnam era.
Now a University of Illinois-Chicago professor, Ayers cofounded Weather Underground, an antiwar group that claimed responsibility for a series of bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and US Capitol.
Chesney Rathbun, a senior, held a sign reading “Millions of veterans died for this?!?’’ Rathbun said he agreed with Ayers’s right to speak, but opposed his viewpoints.
There were no reports of security problems.
Ayers’s arrival in Wyoming culminated a monthlong fight over whether he should be allowed to speak at the state’s only four-year public university.
Ayers has suggested that the university was more concerned about losing donors than safety.
“A donor who gives to the University of Wyoming . . . doesn’t get to say ‘By the way, you have to hire this professor, and this is the book the professor has to teach out of,’ ’’ Ayers said yesterday.
Other universities have canceled Ayers’s speeches recently, including the University of Nebraska and Boston College.