Kilgore supporters to hold press conference ahead of BOT meeting

By Abigale Svoboda

A press conference will take place Monday regarding James Kilgore’s employment. The former instructor’s contract was not renewed after a series of articles exposing his criminal background were released in the spring. 

The press conference, hosted by Friends of James Kilgore, will take place outside the Henry Administration Building, 506 S. Wright St., at 9:30 a.m. 

Provost Ilesanmi Adesida appointed a committee in April to review Kilgore’s status at the University and advise the Board of Trustees on how to proceed. While the Board will vote on several appointments to faculty at its meeting Thursday, members of the board have not confirmed whether Kilgore’s appointment will be discussed.

Kilgore served six years in prison for his involvement in a 1975 bank robbery, where one woman was killed. Kilgore was not the gunman. He was also a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, known for the kidnapping of Hearst Media Company heiress Patty Hearst.

According to Kilgore, the University was fully aware of his past when he was hired in 2011. However, his criminal record had not been a public issue until articles about Kilgore were published in The News-Gazette. 

Following the public’s reaction to the University’s employment of a former criminal, Kilgore was told his contract with the University would not be extended and was not given an explanation. 

A press release stated that Friends of James Kilgore will emphasize the recommendations made by the committee, which is chaired by Matthew Wheeler, professor in Animal Sciences. The group will encourage the Board of Trustees to follow the committee’s recommendations. 

Friends of James Kilgore will assert its opinion that by terminating Kilgore’s future employment with the University, the Board would infringe on the sovereignty of campus governance. They will also claim that the Board cannot overstep the current system for hiring faculty and staff already acknowledged by University administration.

Abigale can be reached at [email protected]

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Board of Trustees was set to vote on James Kilgore’s employment at its Thursday meeting. The board is not set to vote on his appointment. The Daily Illini regrets this error.