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Kilgore Fate Still Up In Air

Wed, 14 May 2014 17:21:44 CDT

The teaching career of former radical James Kilgore remains in doubt. Kilgore was a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, a group best known for kidnapping Patty Hearst in 1974. He was convicted of murder for his role in a bank robbery the group carried out the next year. After decades on the run, Kilgore served six years in prison for that crime and eventually found work as an adjunct professor at the U. of I. in Urbana. His contract was not renewed. The U of I Board of Trustees has ended a meeting without taking action on his case. Kilgore argues the non renewal is a violation of academic freedom and mistreatment of adjunct faculty.

"As a young man I committed acts of which I stand ashamed. Who better to tell somone how to avoid a destructive path than someone who has walked that path."

Trustee Patrick Fitzgerald, the former federal prosecutor who sent two Illinois governors to prison, says the issue has nothing to do with academic freedom and the board should be able to exclude people in some cases. The Board of Trustees wants to mandate criminal background checks on all new employees. Fitzgerald also opposes such a policy.


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