Former SLA member Kilgore to lose U Of I teaching position

Apr 23, 2014

Former Symbionese Liberation Army member James Kilgore sits during his arraignment on murder charges in Sacramento Superior Court, Tuesday, May 13, 2003, in Sacramento, Calif.
Credit Steve Yeater / AP
James Kilgore, the former Symbionese Liberation Army member now teaching at the University of Illinois, will not be doing so in the fall. Kilgore confirmed that the university was not renewing his contracts, after the News-Gazette broke the news on its website Tuesday.

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.