The Chronicle of Higher Education
December 5th, 2014
James W. Kilgore, a member of the militant Symbionese Liberation Army
in the 1970s who served more than six years in prison for his role in a
bank robbery in which a customer was killed, will return as an
instructor next spring at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Mr. Kilgore’s criminal past came to public attention this year, when a local newspaper reported on it. Until then, he had been a part-time, non-tenure-track instructor at the university. But his contract was not renewed after the newspaper article appeared, raising questions about possible political interference in academic decisions.
Mr. Kilgore, who is 67, never hid his criminal record from the university and spoke of how he was ashamed of his actions
four decades ago. Still, some critics felt his past disqualified him
from teaching at the university, noting that he had evaded prosecution
by fleeing abroad, and one major donor has threatened to withhold a
$4.5-million pledge if Mr. Kilgore returned to the classroom.
After a “robust debate” at its meeting last month, the university’s Board of Trustees cleared the way for Mr. Kilgore to be rehired. According to the Tribune,
he has been engaged to teach a one-credit course, titled “Sweat Shops
or Flat World Opportunities? Exploring the New World of Work.”