Purdue University is preparing for protests Thursday night due to a controversial visitor. Bill Ayers, a Chicago education professor and Vietnam-era radical, has been asked to speak to a group of 100 faculty, staff and students.

A university spokesperson says he was selected to give a lecture on how women and minorities can use education to improve their lives.

Word of Ayers' visit has been greeted with outrage and threats of protest by some groups in and around the university.

"We've got college Republicans and other students that have said they want to voice their opinion and that is another form of getting ideas out there," said Chris Sigurdson, Assistant Vice President for External Relations.

Ayers created controversy during last year's presidential election resulting from the fact he, at one time, served on a community board with President Barack Obama.

Donn Brown, a member of Citizens In Action, says he plans to be among what he hopes are thousands of protestors outside Lawson Hall Thursday night.

"Bill Ayers is a self avowed communist," said Brown. "He is a domestic terrorist from the 1970's. My biggest concern is that someone like that impugns the integrity of Purdue University."

Others say Ayers' invitation to speak actually upholds Purdue's reputation.

"That is the point of having a university, free thought and exploring new ideas and getting every view on every situation," said student John Renz.

Ayers' lecture is scheduled to start at seven o'clock Thursday night. Attendees will be required to show a Purdue University identification cared to gain admission.