File this story under “Diversity Opportunities for Faculty.”
Dr. James St. James chairs the psychology department at Millikin University, a private university in Decatur, Illinois. He is an experimental psychologist who does research and teaches several classes on the subject. An aging hippie type, he is well liked by his students, who consider him “cool.”
Jim Wolcott is an admitted murderer. He shot his parents and sister to death in 1967. When questioned by police, he confessed to the crime, but was later found not guilty by reason of insanity. Six years later, authorities considered him cured, and authorized his release from a mental health facility. After that, he disappeared.
The psychology professor and the deranged murderer are the same person, according to a two-year investigation by the Georgetown Advocate, a weekly newspaper circulated in the region of Texas where the killings took place.
Wolcott began taking classes while still a patient at Rusk State Hospital in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Upon his release, he changed his name to James St. James, and began his pursuit of a master’s degree in psychology. Millikin hired him in 1988.
St. James did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation, and has thus far referred other reporters to the university’s statement on the matter. Millikin is standing behind him for now.
“Millikin University has only recently been made aware of Dr. St. James’ past. Given the traumatic experiences of his childhood, Dr. St. James’ efforts to rebuild his life and obtain a successful professional career have been remarkable,” said the university in a statement.
St. James will still teach in the fall, according to the statement.
Shayla Holub, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Dallas who was mentored by St. James, said he shouldn’t lose his job.
“I was really proud of Millikin for standing by him,” she said in a statement. “I would be really disappointed if he were asked to resign.”
But others aren’t so supportive.
“I’d hope the character of this gentleman has been such … that he in fact will do the right thing, which for the sake of the university, would be to resign,” said Mike McElroy, mayor of Decatur, in an interview with The Chicago Sun-Times.
Millikin U. permits a murderer who changed his identity to chair their psychology department (The Daily Caller)