Group Protests Possible MU Administrator Hire

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COLUMBIA - A group of about 50 protesters marched from the Islamic Center of Central Missouri in Columbia to Hill Hall on MU's campus Friday to protest the possible hiring of a former Guantanamo Bay psychologist.

Larry James is one of two finalists for a job as division executive director at the university's College of Education. James currently sits as the dean of professional psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

James led a team of psychologists assigned to interrogators at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay in 2003 and again in 2007-2008. He also oversaw interrogations at the Abu Ghraib detention center in Iraq in 2004.

In 2010, the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic filed a complaint with the Ohio Psychology Board against James. The board eventually dismissed the complaint.

But Jeff Stack, Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation coordinator, said he does not want James in a position of prominence at the university. After hearing on Wednesday of James' possible hiring, Stack organized Friday's protest.

Minutes before the protest was scheduled to start, the dean at the College of Education, Daniel Clay, made a statement to members of the media. Clay said he takes the concerns of the protesters very seriously, but James has never been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

Clay then addressed the group of protesters outside Hill Hall and listened to what they had to say.

The protesters passed a petition around and collected about 50 signatures. They then marched to Jesse Hall to have the petition delivered to MU Chancellor Brady Deaton.

Clay said he will announce his hiring decision by the beginning of March.

James will be on campus next week for interviews.