The semi-prestigious University of Illinois system is rapidly becoming famous for its bizarro penchant for hiring terrorists as professors.
Last month, the statewide board of trustees cleared the way for the flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign to rehire 1970s-era Symbionese Liberation Army terrorist James Kilgore, a convicted murderer who participated in a 1975 bank robbery during which bank customer Myrna Opsahl was shot and killed.
The 42-year-old mother of four bled to death on the bank floor.
Now, Chicago businessman Richard Hill has notified officials at the University of Illinois at Chicago that he will rescind a pledge to donate $6.5 million to the UIC bioengineering department, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Hill, the retired CEO of Novellus Systems, has already given $2 million. However, he has vowed to withhold every last dime of the remaining $4.5 million if school officials allow Kilgore to teach courses in Urbana-Champaign.
“I no longer wish to be associated with University of Illinois,” the retired CEO wrote in a letter to school officials. “The Academy at the University of Illinois has clearly lost its moral compass.”
“I will not contribute neither time nor money to such a morally debased enterprise,” he also said, according to the Tribune. “If they stand up and police their own organization to assure they are of the highest standards, I will stand with them till my dying days.”
Kilgore, 66, and his Symbionese Liberation Army comrades robbed the bank — and another one — to finance guerrilla warfare in support of a communist revolution. They also famously kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst.
The terrorist spent six years in prison for his role in the robbery and the murder of Opsahl — but only after a nearly three-decade life on the lam spent largely in South Africa under the alias John Pape.
After serving his time, Kilgore moved in with his wife, Teresa Barnes, who had found a job as a history professor at the University of Illinois. He quickly found things to be mad about in the local community, including his vigorous protest of a proposed $20 million jail.
After the local press printed an expose about Kilgore’s radical, murderous youth, University of Illinois officials initially defended him, calling him “rehabilitated” and “a good example.”
The backlash proved too much, however. Kilgore, a mere adjunct, was not given any courses to teach this academic year.
Later, though, a group called “Friends of James Kilgore” convinced school officials and the trustees to reconsider the use of taxpayer money and student tuition to pay the violent felon. (RELATED: University Of Illinois Mulls Re-Hiring Terrorist Convicted Of Murder)
Kilgore has said he now rejects the “politics of small-group violence” — which presumably means he has no further plans to murder innocent mothers in the service of totalitarian politics.
“I love teaching and the whole educational process,” he has told Insider Higher Ed.
In a 19-page report, a University of Illinois committee praised Kilgore highly.
The hiring — and potential rehiring — of Kilgore marks the second time that the three-school University of Illinois system has employed a radical terrorist.
The University of Illinois at Chicago was the well-known professional home of unrepentant, spectacularly incompetent Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers from 1987 until his retirement in 2010.
Ayers was spotted last month luxuriating at the glitzy Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort as he attended — and spoke at — a four-day conference of radical, far-left academics. (PHOTOS: Terrorist Mars Confab Of Radical Professors At Swanky Resort)
The self-proclaimed Communist revolutionary — and wealthy son of a former CEO of Commonwealth Edison — was a Weather Underground member in 1970 when three of his bungling colleagues died in a Greenwich Village townhouse explosion trying to make a nail bomb. Investigators believed the bomb was going to be used at a dance for noncommissioned officers and their dates on an army base in Fort Dix, N.J.
This summer, the University of Illinois’s board of trustees also voted 8-1 to revoke a job offer previously extended to world-class Israel hater Steven Salaita after he was an obnoxious, obscenity-hurling, black-belt jerk on Twitter. (RELATED: College Refuses Reinstatement Of Anti-Israel Prof)