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Matthew Haynes

SIOP Recommends No Vote on APA Bylaws Amendment

On November 1, APA will ask its members to vote on a bylaws amendment. 

The bylaws change would grant voting privileges to graduate students and associate members after one year of APA membership.  Graduate students currently do not have voting privileges, and associate members are currently granted voting privileges after 5 years of APA membership.

These privileges extend to electing the APA president and members-at-large to the APA Board of Directors; and to voting on bylaws amendments and apportionment,  which determines the number of seats each APA division and constituency has on the APA Council of Representatives

After discussion of the amendment at the September Executive Board Meeting, the SIOP Executive Board recommends voting NO

We stand in support of voice and engagement in APA by students and master’s degree holders. APA currently promotes student engagement in a variety of ways, such as through their graduate student association (APAGS). An APAGS member sits on the APA Board of Directors with voting rights. APAGS is also represented in the APA Council of Representatives. However, we have reservations, which are summarized below, about the proposed bylaws change. 

1. The ramifications of this change to the voting body are uncertain. APA has over 20,000 student members. We don’t know how many of these student members will be eligible to vote or what percentage of student members represent healthcare. This change is coupled with allowing associate members (master’s degree holders) voting privileges after 1 year. No data are available with regard to how many more individuals will be eligible to vote in this category either and the percentage that will represent healthcare. What we do know is that this is a huge potential influx of new voters that will likely increase the dominance of healthcare practice within APA. This leaves an uncertain impact on future policy decisions such as accreditation, licensure, and professional standards in the future. It could reduce representation for SIOP and applied psychology on APA Council. There could also be a negative impact on APA priorities for science and applied psychology. 

2.  Another concern is whether individuals with as little as one year of grad school training understand professional issues well enough to vote. The rate of doctoral program non-completion is quite high. Thus, we could be inviting a substantial percentage of individuals to vote on the future of the field who ultimately will not enter the workforce as psychologists.

SIOP encourages all SIOP members who are voting APA members to review information that APA will provide to also inform your decision, and hope you will vote when you receive your electronic notice on November 1.

We recommend that you vote NO on this proposed bylaws change.

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