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Korobov: Terrorist education

BY MICHAEL KOROBOV | FEBRUARY 05, 2015 5:00 AM

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Hell has been described as a place where there is no reason. If true, certain universities in Illinois may have reached that point.

We all know that places of higher learning such as universities have admission standards for students. When we sit in classrooms, we expect our peers to be of a certain caliber. The same principle applies to faculty.

The assumption is that our professors can also be held to a distinguished standard, both in their knowledge base and professionalism. In many cases, our professors are meant to be our role models. Many have impressive backgrounds and experience that we will strive to replicate as we attempt to absorb their insights in lectures. We admire the dedication they possess for their field. It is this student/professor relationship that contributes in part to the academic atmosphere in universities.

How would you feel if your professor was a convicted felon? Would it change this relationship?
In an absurd move, the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign has done just this, and that immediately made me relatively more proud to be an Iowa student. The university rehired James Kilgore, who is a convicted felon and known terrorist, to teach history.

Kilgore was part of the infamous Symbionese Liberation Army. In 1975, Kilgore was part of a bank robbery that led to a customer being killedc. A mother of four, Myrna Opsahl died of excessive bleeding lying on the floor of the bank. For this and other actions Kilgore was convicted of possession of an unregistered explosive device and second-degree murder.

Having employed Bill Ayers, the University of Chicago has also been associated with this insanity. Ayers was a member of the Weather Underground, a revolutionary group that bombed and attempted to bomb banks and government buildings. A Chicago riot that Ayers was involved in knows as the “Days of Rage” in 1969 led to $183,000 in taxpayer costs.

Hiring terrorist professors has financial implications for universities as well. A University of Illinois donor, Chicago businessman Richard Hill, has said he will hold back on $4.5 million in funds if Kilgore teaches.

Allowing terrorists to teach in state schools is also morally wrong. Part of the funding for these universities comes from taxpayer funds. In essence, Illinois citizens are forced to pay money to a convicted murderer whether they want to or not.

State Rep. Charlie Meier has introduced a bill, House Bill 150, into the Illinois Legislature that would make it illegal for anyone who has been convicted of terrorism to teach at colleges or universities that receive taxpayer funds. Who thought that this would ever need to be a law?

Regardless of whether or not these men are educated in their fields, it is hard for me to imagine that there isn’t anyone out there that is just as qualified to teach their courses. By hiring terrorists, the university is spitting in the face of every taxpaying citizen in Illinois and they are, after all, their largest donors. I can only hope that this problem remains contained in Illinois and does not make its way to Iowa or other universities.


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