TORONTO - The University of Toronto says William Ayers, a former U.S. radical who featured prominently in Republican efforts to thwart Barack Obama's election campaign, has been denied entry to Canada.

The university's Centre for Urban Schooling issued a statement saying Ayers, who once lived next to Obama in Chicago, was denied entry to Canada on Sunday night.

Ayers, who was to deliver a speech at the centre, was mentioned often during the campaign, cited by former Republican vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin as proof Obama had links to terrorism.

The release says the centre was surprised Ayers, a distinguished professor, community organizer and author, would be deemed a threat by Canadian border security.

It says Ayers, who also once sat on the board of a charitable foundation alongside the president-elect, was refused entry because of a 1969 conviction during an anti-war demonstration.

The release also says Ayers was not allowed an opportunity to meet with his lawyer.

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