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Fmr. Symbionese Liberation Army Radical James Kilgore Hired To Teach At University of Illinois

BERKELEY (CBS/AP) -- The University of Illinois has hired 1970s-era member of the revolutionary group, the Symbionese Liberation Army, James Kilgore to teach a course next semester.

The group known as the SLA was responsible for kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst in Berkeley, and the murder of Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster. Kidnap victim Hearst participated in the SLA's 1975 robbery of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco during which a housewife died. She was later pardoned.

The famous S.L.A. publicity image of new member Patty Hearst, a.k.a. "Tania"

Other members of the SLA included Bill and Emily Harris, Wendy Yoshimura, Kathleen and Steve Soliah and Michael Bortin.

Thomas Bassett, director of Global Studies at the Urbana-Champaign campus, said Friday that Kilgore's proposal to teach the course "Sweatshops or Flat World Opportunities? Exploring the new World of Work" was approved this week. Kilgore will be paid $3,500.

Kilgore declined comment.

The Oregon native survived the 1974 shootout between the SLA and police in Los Angeles in which six SLA members died. He disappeared in 1975. After more that 25 years on the run, US Federal marshals arrested Kilgore South Africa, where he had been living under an assumed name. He was extradited to the United States and later sentenced to six years in a prison for his part in the killing of Myrna Opsahi, the 42 year old mother of four who was killed in the Hibernia bank robbery. He also served 54 months in prison on explosives and passport fraud convictions.

James Kilgore
James Kilgore (California Department of Corrections)

Earlier this year the university told Kilgore it would no longer hire him. That followed news-media stories about part-time university work he'd done since his 2009 prison release.

But last month the university's board of trustees cleared the way for him to be hired by saying part-time hires are campus-level decisions.

Kilgore earned his Ph.D. and authored numerous academic articles in South Africa under the pseudonym of John Pape. He also wrote 3 books in prison. His forthcoming book, to be published in 2015, is titled, Understanding and Ending Mass Incarceration: A Primer.

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