James Kilgore, the former Symbionese Liberation Army member now teaching at the University of Illinois, will not be doing so in the fall. Kilgore says he wasn't given a reason for his dismissal, and says he thinks the university bowed to political pressure in letting him go. He notes that after the New-Gazette reported on his radical past in February, a university spokesperson defended him as a good instructor who had been rehabilitated from the violent acts of his past:
"And then, 18 days later, I'm told that the university is not going to approve any future employment contracts. So what could have changed minds, other than some kind of outside political pressure?"
Kilgore speculates that the pressure might have come from university trustees, donors or state lawmakers. University spokesperson Robin Kaler said she could not comment on Kilgore's case, because it was a personnel issue. Kilgore was part of the Symbionese Liberation Army in the 1970s, and took part in a 1975 bank robbery in which a bank customer was killed. He later served time in prison for his role in the robbery, and other charges.
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