James Kilgore was recently dismissed from the faculty position he held for five years at the Center for African Studies at UIUC. Why? Because an alumnus resurrected James’ old criminal conviction apropos of nothing and the News-Gazette, Urbana’s newspaper, was all too eager to report (for the second time!) on another “radical elite” working for UIUC. (James was convicted for an incident involving a radical left group in the 1970s.) James, who served his time, was completely transparent with UIUC about his background throughout the hiring process and during the course of his employment. James’s colleagues in the Center for African Studies, who recognize his value to the campus as a teacher, scholar, and activist, opposed the decision taken by the Wise administration. This is another example of UIUC administrators buckling under public pressure and unfairly terminating their employment contracts with faculty!
James’s case has been in process since the spring semester. The Board of Trustees will likely take a vote on his case during their upcoming meeting, this Thursday, November 13, in Student Center West (Rooms B & C). James has asked his supporters to be there during the Public Comment section at 11:30 AM. Please join us in supporting James and all University of Illinois employees with prior, irrelevant criminal convictions. Following the Salaita decision, it’s even more important that we stand up for the employment rights of all U of I employees. (As long as we do so civilly, of course.)
If you are able to attend Thursday morning, shoot Amy Livingston (our staff organizer, who brought this case to our attention in the spring) at firstname.lastname@example.org or just show up. Hope to see many of you there!