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Some alumni, local leaders angry over psychologist's talk at CofC

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Psychologist Adrian Raine drew a crowd of College of Charleston students, but his invitation wasn't without controversy. Years ago Raine was an expert witness in the defense of the man convicted of the 1999 rape and murder of College of Charleston graduate, Peyton Tuthill.

Council member Elliott Summey, who is also a CofC alum, says he's shocked that Raine was invited.

"Two months ago, myself and others, reached out to president Benson and others on that board and said hey look this is just going to be a little too hard for the community to swallow. Can we just take another look at this and kind of go in a different direction, and they just dug their heels in. There was no compromise."

The College of Charleston says faculty has the right to invite any qualified guest speakers. In a statement college officials said:

"While the college acknowledges and regrets the very sensitive connection between the work of guest speaker Adrian Raine and the case of the murder victim Peyton Tuthill, the college must also respect the academic freedom of our faculty to pursue their teaching and research without undue restrictions."

Ryan Nelson was a close friend of Tuthill and her roommate at the time of the murder. She says she's incredibly disappointed in her alma mater

"It's somewhere I went and had great memories, and now it's tarnished. Why, because they didn't care about Peyton. They didn't care about any of that at all."

Gary Melville attended the lecture. He says he understands why people are upset, but as a former psychology professor, he says academic freedom is a must  

"Even when it seems insensitive, it seems like it's hurting people, but I think academic freedom and the First Amendment are essential in this country."

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