Dr. Long sent the following letter to Dr. James Bray, President of the APA. [In it she refers to APA ethics standard 1.02. For background on this standard and why it matters, see my article Will the American Psychological Association Renounce the Nuremberg Defense?]
8th August, 2009
Dr. James Bray, President
Dr. Stephen Behnke, Ethics Director
American Psychological Association
First Street NE, Washington DC 20002
Dear Drs. Bray and Behnke:
This is to let you know that I am resigning today from APA. I have been a member since around 1980, and would have expected to continue for many more years. I am resigning now because of the decision of the Ethics Committee in June to postpone indefinitely rewording Ethics Code 1.02 and 1.03, and the agreement of the Board to let this go out as APA policy. This decision came four years after the Council of Representatives had requested the Ethics Committee to consider revisions to these items, now termed the APA's "Nuremberg Defense" clauses. The recent developments of the Substitute Motion and apparent commitment to reopen the Ethics Committee's decision (to be handled, presumably, by the same body that delayed a decision for four years, and decided against revision two months ago) with a reporting date six months hence, to me do not mitigate the June decisions taken at the highest levels of APA. "Too little, too late, too slow" remains my opinion.
Although I have been deeply disturbed over the past four years at learning of APA's policy toward psychologists' involvement with torture and mistreatment of illegally held foreign prisoners, I have not resigned before because I do not expect either people or institutions to be perfect, and am well aware that positive social change is often complicated and shockingly slow. I also recognize that APA performs many services to psychologists, psychology and social wellbeing. But the decisions in June told me that APA is no longer a place for a responsible humanitarian psychologist.
I write you this on the last day of my Presidency of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. I shall continue as an active psychologist, and will add the sad lessons I have learned from APA in my teaching and activism.
Jancis Long Ph.D.
President, Psychologists for Social Responsibility