Columbia group protests possible hiring of military psychologist Larry James

The group marched to Hill Hall.

About 30 protesters marched from the Islamic Center of Central Missouri to Hill Hall Friday to speak out against the possible hiring of former military psychologist Dr. Larry C. James.

James, who worked for the U.S. military at the Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib detention centers in Cuba and Iraq respectively, is one of two finalists to fill the position of division executive director with MU's College of Education.

While at Guantanamo, James headed the Guantanamo Behavioral Science Consultation Team, a group of mental health professionals whose job it was to advise on and participate in the interrogations from 2007 to 2008.

A complaint filed with the State Board of Psychology of Ohio and the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists by the Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic, details allegations of misconduct and violations during James's tenure at Guantanamo Bay. James is believed to have breached professional ethics by violating psychologists duties to do no harm, to protect confidential information and to obtain informed consent, according to the complaint.

The protest group, led by Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation Coordinator Jeff Stack, met outside the Islamic Center of Central Missouri at 2 p.m. and marched to Hill Hall, where the MU College of Education is housed.

Stack and other protesters spoke to the crowd, after which Dean of the College of Education Daniel Clay spoke to the crowd.

The protesters then entered Jesse Hall to speak with Chancellor Brady Deaton and hand him a petition against hiring James. Dean was not present at the protest but Ann McGruder, assistant to the chancellor, spoke to the group.

McGruder was given the petition and told the group she would relay the information and petition to Chancellor Deaton. The protesters dispersed after agreeing to meet at open forum on Tuesday 3 p.m. at the Reynolds Alumni Center. At the forum, James will speak and answer questions from MU faculty and the public.

The other candidate for the position is Dr. Matthew Burns, who works as a researcher with the University of Minnesota. The hiring decision will be made at the end of February or early March Clay said.

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