December 7th, 2007
I just became aware of yet another resignation from the American Psychological Association. Paul R. Dokecki, a senior community psychologist, joined those deciding that enough is enough. Given his long history of grappling with ethical issues in psychological practice, perhaps especially poignant is this line in his resignation letter that expresses the feelings of so many of us: “This semester, I was ashamed to have to tell my students about the ethically problematic APA position on interrogation and torture that has been emerging over the last several months.”
November 19, 2007
Dr. Sharon Brehm
President, American Psychological Association
Department of Psychology
1101 East 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405-7007
Dear Dr. Brehm:
I have been a member of the American Psychological Association since 1962 and am a Fellow of Division 27, but I hereby resign from the organization. In stating my reasons, I can do no better than refer you to the attached copy of the October 7, 2007 letter to you from Marybeth Shinn, Professor of Applied Psychology and Public Policy at New York University, and soon to be my faculty colleague in Vanderbilt’s Department of Human and Organizational Development. I was pleased to have received and commented on earlier drafts of Professor Shinn’s eloquent and thorough argument, and I applaud her candor and courage.
I have been teaching ethics to undergraduate and graduate students for almost 20 years and was always pleased and proud to recommend the APA Code as perhaps the finest professional code of ethics in the world. I was particularly proud because of the role my mentor, Nicholas Hobbs, played in developing the first version of the code in the 1950s. This semester, I was ashamed to have to tell my students about the ethically problematic APA position on interrogation and torture that has been emerging over the last several months.
In sum, the situation has become intolerable, and I submit my resignation with deep sorrow and regret.
Paul R. Dokecki [ firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Professor of Psychology
Dept. of Human and Organizational Development
Peabody College #6 Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN 37203
With the wave of resignations with more to come, and with the hundreds withholding dues, it looks as if the doors of APA are opening. If the Association does not its interrogations policy soon, the Association will suffer damage from which it may never recover.