Milton Strauss was a member of the American Psychological Association for almost a half-century. His membership began back in 1967, the same year that Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these memorable words at the APA’s Annual Convention:
“On some positions cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?!’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience must ask the question, ‘Is it right?!’ And there comes a time when one must take a stand that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular. But one must take it because it is right. And that is where I find myself today.”
Today Professor Strauss is an APA member no more. On May 1st he submitted his letter of resignation to CEO Norman Anderson. Here is the text of that letter:
Dear Dr. Anderson:
I have been associated with APA for over 50 years, first as a journal subscriber through the Student Journal Group when I was an undergraduate and graduate student, a Member as soon as I received my Ph.D., later a Fellow, and now a Life Member. I edited two of APA's flagship journals, a privilege that I will always cherish, and served on the Committee on Accreditation.
However, the recent additional revelations about the organization's collusion with the US government to develop an ethical basis for what is universally considered to be torture no longer permit me to remain a member of APA. My conscience was challenged when the charges were first made in the press and by members of APA whom I had long respected, e.g., Ken Pope, but I put it aside, giving my first professional organization the benefit of the doubt. Now, the recent reporting by the NY Times and other sources do not allow me to maintain the empty hope that APA did not engage in this unethical action. Patriotism is no excuse for unethical behavior by an organization committed to human welfare.
This is a sad day for me, but this action is necessary.
Milton E. Strauss, Ph.D.
For those who might be interested in further background about Dr. Strauss, he is professor emeritus at Case Western Reserve University, where he was director of clinical training for 15 years. Prior to that, he was a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. He served on the APA Committee on Accreditation and edited both the Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Psychological Assessment. During each of those editorships, he served a term as chair of the Council of Editors and represented that group on the Publications and Communications Board of APA.
Over a month has now passed and Professor Strauss has not received any form of acknowledgment or reply from Dr. Anderson or the APA. But it is hard to imagine that there is really nothing left to be said.