APA: Ludy Benjamin resigns over AHAP, torture

Ludy Benjamin Jr.Breaking news: Ludy Benjamin Jr. has resigned from the American Psychological Association.

In addition to his well-known and long-standing scholarly involvement in the Society for the History of Psychology, for which he was recognized as a Fellow in 1981, he has also shaped the last quarter-century of several APA divisions: Teaching (Division 2), for which he was recognized as a Fellow in 1982; General Psychology (Div. 1) and Psychology of Women (Div. 35) in 1990; and Experimental Psychology (Div. 3) in 1997. 

His presence will surely be missed.

But the reasons for his resignation run deeper than the recent cuts made to the Archives of the History of American Psychology. In a note sent to the listserv of the Society for the History of Psychology, he explained:

I began thinking about resigning when APA Council began passing resolutions on the involvement of psychologists in torture and interrogations that were opposite to positions taken by other national associations in health care and public welfare. But I stayed in because of the AHAP funding issues. As I indicated in my resignation letter to James Bray, I was not resigning because APA cut funds to the Archives. But I was resigning because the process was, in my opinion, one of subterfuge from the initiation of the cuts in Central Office through what I perceived as the rigged debate on the floor of Council in Toronto.

He will also return his Presidential Citation, awarded for his many contributions to the Association.

I have been a student affiliate member since my senior year in college and a member since 1971. I have been to every APA convention since 1974. In the nearly 40 years of my membership I have held many offices in APA on boards and committees and APA Council, as well as spending two years in APA Central Office as Director of the Office of Educational Affairs. APA has given me much and I have worked hard for the Association in return.

Yet, even as he resigns from the APA, he won’t be leaving History.

Resigning was not an easy decision for me. It is something that until recently I never imagined that I would do. APA has meant much to me and it pains me to leave the Association in this way. However, I feel that my own values do not mesh well with those of the Association’s leadership. I will continue to support the Society for the History of Psychology and maintain my membership there.

To join the Society for the History of Psychology, without first joining the American Psychological Association, find information here.  For information about how to support the Archives of the History of American Psychology (both financially and in terms of donating historical materials), look here.

Share on Facebook

About Jeremy Burman

Jeremy Trevelyan Burman is a senior doctoral student in York University’s Department of Psychology, specializing in the history of developmental psychology and its theory (especially that pertaining to Jean Piaget). Prior to returning to academia, he was a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

5 thoughts on “APA: Ludy Benjamin resigns over AHAP, torture

  1. I am personally very sorry that Ludy Benjamin has felt it necessary to resign from the APA, though I understand and sympathize with the reasons that led him to this difficult decision. Ben has been one of our most active and prominent voices in the wider Association, and with his “insider” status he has helped advance many issues that might otherwise not have gotten the attention they did. Those of you who are newer to the SHP may not know that Ben ran for APA president twice, once finishing second. I greatly appreciate his generous efforts on our behalf, and I am pleased to see that he will remain an affiliate of the SHP.

  2. I do not understand! Can somebody, please, explain to me what is the relationship between AHAP, torture, and Dr. Benjamin’s resignation?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>