University renews contract of former domestic terrorist, convicted murderer

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign renewed the contract of former domestic terrorist and convicted murder James Kilgore last Thursday.

Kilgore was surprised by the board’s decision, but is reportedly thrilled to be back in the classroom.

The Board of Trustees reconsidered, and later granted Kilgore’s request for continued employment after a petition was circulated by a group demanding the university reconsider his contract.

The University of Illinois (UI) at Urbana Champaign announced last Thursday, that they will be renewing the contract of former domestic terrorist and convicted murder James Kilgore.

As previously reported by Campus Reform, the university had not originally renewed Kilgore’s teaching contract for the upcoming 2015 school year after his four years employment as an adjunct faculty in UI’s African Studies Department. However, UI’s Board of Trustees met to discuss, and later grant Kilgore’s request for continued employment, after the group “Friends of Kilgore” circulated a petition calling for Kilgore’s reinstatement, according to The Daily Illini, the student newspaper.

“Dr. Kilgore is an excellent scholar, a committed and engaging teacher (judging from student feedback), and a colleague who gives of his time generously to the University and its diverse programs,” said D. Fairchild Ruggles, a UI professor.

According to The Daily Illini, Kilgore was “really surprised” at the board’s decision but was glad to be back in the classroom.

“It just means an opportunity for me to teach, which I really enjoy, and to re-establish my connection to Africa, where I lived for almost two decades,” said Kilgore. “And the Center for African Studies has been very important to me in terms of maintaining that connection.”

Kilgore’s supporters claimed that the adjunct professor was always forthcoming about his past and never made any attempt to hide his criminal history.

“I think it’s a good step for the University that they have at least recognized that people who were formerly incarcerated, like myself, can change their lives,” said Kilgore. “They can transform, and can make useful contributions to educational institutions.”

Kilgore was a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, a left-wing revolutionary group known for kidnapping Patty Hearst, heiress to Hearst Media Company, and killing Myrna Opsahl, a wife and mother of three, in a 1975 bank robbery.

Following his murder conviction, Kilgore evaded the U.S. for 27 years to avoid arrest. He was later caught residing in South Africa where he had obtained a teaching position, and was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MaggieLitCRO

Watch Campus Reform on Fox News discuss the university's consideration of Kilgore.