In Illinois, the two largest taxpayer-funded universities have now boasted bona fide American terrorists on their faculties.
The University of Illinois at Chicago, a dismal and endless slab of concrete that is easily one of the ugliest campuses in America, was the well-known professional home of unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers from 1987 until his retirement in 2010.
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, the semi-prestigious flagship school of the state’s college system, has employed James Kilgore, an adjunct instructor of global studies and urban planning, a felon and a former member of the infamous Symbionese Liberation Army.
The Symbionese Liberation Army was the notorious terrorist organization that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. The group also attempted two bank robberies. Kilgore participated in a 1975 bank robbery during which bank customer Myrna Opsahl was murdered.
Much later, after a nearly three-decade life on the lam spent largely in South Africa under the alias John Pape, Kilgore served six years in prison in the U.S. for second-degree murder. While on the run, he got Ph.D. and wrote articles, novels and a textbook. (The story of Kilgore’s 27 fugitive years, as told by The Guardian, is fascinating.)
After serving his time, Kilgore reunited with with his wife, Teresa Barnes, who had found a job as a history professor at the University of Illinois. He also quickly found things to protest vigorously about in the local community, including a proposed $20 million jail.
Kilgore noted that he hinted at his terrorist past when he was hired by saying, “I hope that you’ve Googled me,” according to Inside Higher Ed.
After the local press printed an expose about Kilgore’s radical, murderous youth, University of Illinois officials initially defended him, telling the Chicago Sun-Times he “is a good example of someone who has been rehabilitated” and “is well-respected among students.”
The backlash proved too much, however, and Kilgore, only an adjunct, was recently told he would not be given any courses to teach going forward.
Inside Higher Ed notes that a bunch of tenured University of Illinois professors are now sad and angry. They blame “political pressure” and “sensationalist media coverage.” The say the plight of the bank robber and second-degree murder felon is a threat to academic freedom. They have created a group, Friends of James Kilgore, that will promote the terrorist’s rehiring.
Meanwhile, the story of terrorist University of Illinois at Chicago professor Bill Ayers is far more widely known.