PT Mobile Logo

Search form


The Vote on Tutu: Fair Hearing?: Page 2 of 2

The Vote on Tutu: Fair Hearing?: Page 2 of 2

Dr Rogoff Responds:

I first want to make absolutely clear that I in no way intended to impugn Dr Hershfield’s running of the November APA Assembly Sunday meeting. Dr Hershfield did what he could to give the 25 of us who signed the AP a chance to present it. As I recall it, however, we did not agree that a half hour would be sufficient; rather, when Dr Hershfield told me that given the full Assembly agenda a half hour was the most he could free up, I accepted and agreed to make the best possible use of the available time. During the event, the time was very inadequate. There were about 20 Assembly representatives lined up at the floor microphones to speak when discussion was terminated and a vote was called, but that was no fault of Dr Hershfield’s.

Also, bearing in mind that I had a very clear bias toward adoption of the AP, from where I sat just below Dr Hershfield, the voice vote on the AP sounded very close to me. Had there been time, I, as well as others, would certainly have called for a standing vote. Only a few minutes were left after the question was called—not enough time to mount and carry out a standing vote. This was very frustrating to the AP’s supporters and to all those left stranded at the mikes, but it was within parliamentary rules, as Dr Hershfield states—and again, no fault of his.

Dr Hershfield notes that I took 12 minutes to speak in favor of the paper. I took 12 minutes to merely present it. Most of the people present had no idea of Mr Tutu’s nefarious activities for the 25 years since his admirable work in South Africa. This information had to be presented or the AP would have made no sense. Moreover, background material—including numerous quotations from Mr Tutu’s speeches—also had to be presented because it could not be included in the format of an AP. The implication that my speaking in favor of the AP was partially or mostly responsible for others not having the chance to speak is simply not so. Without the full presentation of the facts, there would have been little to speak about.

Two things made me tell Arline Kaplan that the episode at the Assembly was “interesting”:

1. The AP was given to the staff for printing with the names of all of the 25 signers. However, the AP that was actually distributed to the Assembly did not include any of those names—many of whom are quite influential. APs always include the names of the authors.

2. Dr Carol Bernstein, around whose choice of Desmond Tutu the whole matter swirled, was present for most of the Assembly meeting but absent for this presentation and discussion. I later saw her in a conference room just after the close of the meeting, so she was still present in the building. It seems to me and to my fellow co-signers of the AP and of the ad that later appeared in the February issue of Psychiatric Times that when the APA spends $39,000 out of the Annual Meeting Budget on an honorarium for a Convocation Speaker—that is what Desmond Tutu will be paid—funded at least in part by members’ dues (which account for approximately a third of the entire APA annual budget), that the person who chose that speaker would make it a priority to be present and to explain and defend that choice at this forum. This is particularly important when the invited speaker is a serious problem for a number of those members.

Jerome Rogoff, MD


Loading comments...

By clicking Accept, you agree to become a member of the UBM Medica Community.