A Message from your APAGS Leadership in Response to the Hoffman Report

Fellow students,

The last few days have not been easy ones for our APA community. As many of you are aware, David Hoffman’s independent review report became public Friday (you can view the report and the Board of Director’s response here). If you are like us, you have likely experienced a variety of emotions while reading the report and conclusions. It is a sad and difficult time for us all.

In the coming weeks, APAGS is committed to providing you updated and additional information as it becomes available. The Executive Committee of APAGS (the current Chair, Chair-Elect, and Past-Chair) and staff are working diligently on the best ways to communicate with our membership and ensure the student voice is heard throughout this process.

In the interim, we wanted to highlight a few things:

  • There are many voices responding to and framing the findings, particularly the media. We encourage you to read the report in its entirety so you can be fully informed and respond with all the information.

  • Actions are being taken with the future of APA in mind, particularly to ensure a strong APA for students and Early Career Psychologists (refer to the initial action steps in the report from the Board)

  • The student voice has been, and continues to be present, heard, and valued throughout this process as members of the APAGS Executive Committee are at the table in our roles as Board member and Council Leadership Team (CLT) representative

  • For those of you attending Convention, we encourage you to attend the planned Town Hall meeting to voice your opinions. We will post information about the Town Hall as it becomes available.

  • On the APA website related to the Report of the Independent Reviewer, a public comment section was added where anyone can add comments and those comments can be viewed by members and the public.

We remain hopeful that through this process we can learn and grow together, creating a strong and vibrant future for psychology and our association.


Emily Voelkel (APAGS Chair, Board of Directors) and Christine Jehu (APAGS Chair-Elect, CLT representative)


13 thoughts on “A Message from your APAGS Leadership in Response to the Hoffman Report

  1. purplemonster

    Could this be any more patronizing? “The student voice has been and continues to be present, heard, and valued,” what exactly have you said on behalf of students about our thoughts and reactions regarding this unbelievable/deplorable set of events?

    This “response” is disconnected from the experience of student members as we have read on the various listservs where courageous students have actually spoken out about this scandal. It also reads like more diplomatic/political psychobabble that has zero worth, except to show support of our failed leadership.

    Take a risk and really write a “response” to the report, rather than providing advice and talk points that APA has already spoon fed you—-“we encourage you to read the report,” as if students need a reminder of how to be independent thinkers.

    And again I hear the question, what does APAGS do for me?

    1. shadowwork

      I understand your fears and desire for answers, but what do you want them to say? Nobody really knows anything yet and things are all happening pretty fast. They’re just saying hang on, there’s more to come. Our student voices are probably heard and possibly listened to, but students tend to be a bit reactive, so it will take time for us to be heard through the noise. The foundation needs to be saved before the upper student levels (now that was patronizing). Give it some time, unless your program is withdrawing from APA accreditation, you are probably not in eminent danger. I’m sure they are preparing to handle this quagmire in the best way possible.

      1. purplemonster

        I am glad students are “reactive” that is how change occurs, rather than wordsmithing and being politically savvy at how we respond as students to this.

        “Through the noise,” what does that even mean? Everyone’s POV is valuable even if its reactive or is uncomfortable, just as it was when APA members were originally having problems with the involvement years ago and were silenced.

        Likewise, being complacent and “being sure” that our leadership would do no harm, is what got us here in the first place.

        As AIDS Activist Paul Monette once wrote, ““Go without hate, but not without rage. Heal the world.”

    2. Change_now

      Truly, APAGS itself needs to change in response to this. It is consistently and directly steered by the upper ranks of APA who are now clearly guilty of being influenced by forces outside the organization. Are we to continue to believe they have students’ professional interest in mind? Great, APAGS has a Board seat. Let’s do more. And honestly, has this really made us privy to the absurdities happening at this level? If so, our own APAGS representative on the Board needs to speak up or admit that she never had any knowledge of this collusion with outside interests. It’s disgusting to know that significant aspects of the ethics code I follow so closely are based on false pretenses.

    3. apachange

      it was a brave replay and I have to agree. For so long, there have not been much “substance” in discussion in APAGS or APA. Like repeating what others have said, or just very shallow and superficial response like that. It’s time for a real change. No BS like that please.

  2. concerned citizen

    How about APA breaks its relationship with the Trust malpractice insurance provider and see how many students and early career professionals remain in APA? How many of us renew just for that discount on our policies that we are required to carry in some form?

    Why would a malpractice insurer want to stay aligned with such a clearly unethical organization?

    Alternatively, I think paying full price for a student policy could be worth the price of a clear conscience that being a ‘former’ member of APA allows.

  3. Steven Reisner

    APA has broken its connection with APAIT. (That is a whole other scandal.) You can get insurance without being a member. I don’t think anyone should feel beholden to being a member of APA. It is more important to feel free to demand that it be the type of association you would want to join.

  4. Emily Voelkel

    I want to personally thank everyone who has responded to this post thus far. It is clear that many students are justifiably frustrated with this crisis and our organization. I appreciate the initial post in response and wanted to respond directly to your concerns as soon as possible.

    To your first point, I would like to clarify that we were specifically referencing that the student voice was included throughout the APA decision-making process at the Board of Directors and Council Leadership Team level prior to when the report was made public. We were not referencing how the student perspective has been represented since the report became public. We do have a plan in the making for gathering and communicating student concerns that will take some time to implement. I ask for everyone’s patience while we figure out a system that will work and get the most diverse student perspectives possible.

    To your second point, you are absolutely correct that this post sounds “diplomatic.” This post is designed to be purely informational in nature. We are currently writing other posts and messages that will speak more directly to the emotional reactions of the student community and action steps that students and APAGS can take. This, too, will take time (especially since we have tens of thousands of members).

    In addition, APAGS is currently working on ways to get collective feedback from students regarding their reactions so we can make a statement that accurately reflect our members’ views. We believe posting our views without hearing from our members would be irresponsible and would represent only your elected leaders’ opinions. Many students have not read the report entirely or had time to process it as the report was public only days ago. More responses will come as people do so, and we ask for your patience. In hindsight, I think a more appropriate title to this post would have been “A Message from your APAGS Leadership About the Hoffman Report” as the word “response” insinuates some emotional message that you correctly point out is not in this informational piece.

    Lastly, I would like to speak to your last point and question. Speaking to what APAGS does for its members, I know firsthand that our 50+ students involved in APAGS leadership roles and our four dedicated staff work on a wealth of good for our members, the profession, and for society each day (for example, see http://goo.gl/xgvobq).

    This is in no way to minimize the investigation’s findings but it does, at least, allow me to still have pride for APAGS and encourages me to hold both truths in my mind.
    I would again like to sincerely thank everyone who has posted here thus far and encourage all students to continue to be active in these and similar dialogues. Questioning, thoughtful, and ethical minds are what we need now more than ever. I want to hear your opinions and the opinions of other students.

    To the original poster, I would like to invite you to write a blog post expressing your views and/or to send us specific suggestions about how to best reach out to all students. To the most recent poster, APA association membership has been independent from the Trust for some time (see more information here: http://www.trustinsurance.com/products/studentliability/).

    Thank you,

    1. purplemonster

      What does that mean—“the student voice,” what did you as our elected official say or do that did not tow the line prior or after this scandal? From what you are saying, apparently you were aware of this before Friday of last week being a part of these meetings. Enough with the placation or pandering of the same talking points that the APA has allowed you to say…..be a leader as APAGS Chair, tell us your thoughts/reactions and what you plan to do in your remaining time, take a lesson from the incoming Chair and Candice who both spoke out.

      Congratulations, now I’m even more disappointed in our Chair.

      1. apachange

        Hey purplemoster, I share your frustration. Vague word like that is so often used by psychologist. Even hoffman report, everyone says “I am XX, I feel XX, ” but does anybody own it? I am ready to own it as a soon to be graduate. First step is to own it, not BS about it.

        1. Kelli Vaughn-Johnson

          Some of us have. A none student blog but one that we all can appreciate:


          I also think we should post in our own names. Some risks are worth it and we have to be clear. We are not nameless faceless student numbers but voices in this profession and organization. There is no “them” in these debates and reforms. I/we are them and if we lose sight of that there is no hope.

          Keep talking everyone. The sound of our collective voices helps.

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