Who supports graduate student voting rights?

APA Members

In 2019, 66% of APA members voted YES for the bylaw amendment. We were only 58 votes (less than 1%) short of passing the amendment.

APA Divisions

Multiple Divisions (Divisions 9, 10, 15, 17, 29, 32, 35, 37, 40, 41, 44, 45, and 54) have publicly supported this bylaw amendment.

The Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (Division 29):

"The Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (APA Division 29) is proud to endorse the APAGS sponsored bylaw amendment that would allow voting privileges for graduate student affiliates. The training-to-workforce pipeline is more diverse now than it has ever been in our profession. Welcoming the voices of these future colleagues into the decision-making of the APA is of vital importance to the health of our profession and our ability to respond to the rapidly changing needs of an increasingly diverse public as it looks to our profession for its deep expertise. "

American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41):

"APA Graduate Students should be granted the privilege to vote in elections for the President-elect and Members of the Board, on bylaws amendments, and on apportionment ballots because student voices are essential to our organization’s pursuit of well-being, justice, and human rights. As psychologists in training, graduate students’ work and perspectives already contribute to psychological science as a discipline and a professional community. Division 41 supports graduate student voting as it is one of many important steps APA can take towards creating a more equitable and representative voting body."

APA Council of Representatives

In August 2020, 73% of the Council of Representatives voted in favor of the bylaw amendment.

APA Board of Directors and Council Leadership Team

The APA Board of Directors and Council Leadership Team both unanimously recommended approval of graduate student voting rights.

Additional APA Boards and Committees Support

Board of Educational Affairs (BEA)

"The Board of Educational Affairs affirms and supports APAGS’ request for voting privileges. BEA recognizes the importance of giving voice to Graduate Students and how that voice can encourage students to become full members upon gaining eligibility for membership and BEA does support moving forward with the request to change the bylaws to allow for Graduate Students to vote."

Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA)

The APA Board of Scientific Affairs unanimously supports the APA graduate student vote effort.

Membership Board

The APA Membership Board endorses the Proposed Amendment for the Addition of a Graduate Student Member Class with Voting Privileges (Bylaws Amendment #2), which will allow APA Graduate Student Members the right to vote after one year of membership. Graduate students members are the future of APA, and as such, inclusion of their voices in our elections is critical in advancing our organization. This change, which is congruent with our Association’s Strategic Plan, will help ensure we recruit and retain the next generation of psychologists.

Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (CSOGD)

Committee on Associate and Baccalaureate Education (CABE)

"CABE fully supports more inclusive practices in our APA membership policies. This includes voting privileges for a wider range of professionals in psychology, including psychology graduate students and associate-level professionals in our field."

Committee on Early Career Psychologists (CECP)

The CECP has publicly supported this bylaw amendment.

Ad Hoc Committee on Psychology and AIDS (COPA)

The Committee on Psychology and AIDS (COPA) has publicly supported this bylaw amendment.

Committee on Women in Psychology (CWP)

"CWP agrees that APA Graduate Students should be granted the privilege to vote in elections for the President-elect and Members of the Board, on bylaws amendments, and on apportionment ballots. "

The National Latinx Psychological Association (NLPA)

"The National Latinx Psychological Association (NLPA) wholeheartedly supports the bylaw amendment that would grant graduate student affiliate members of APA the ability to vote in elections for the President-elect and members of the Board of Directors. Student members bring an immeasurable richness to the organization. They are the leaders of tomorrow, and as such their voices must be heard today. We, the members and leadership council of the NLPA stand by and support all efforts to strengthen the standing of graduate students within the APA. "

State, Provincial, and Territorial Psychological Associations

Multiple SPTAs, including those representing Arizona, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have publicly supported this bylaw amendment.

The Maine Psychology Association Policy Committee

"APA Graduate Students should be granted the privilege to vote in elections for the President-elect and Members of the Board, on bylaws amendments, and on apportionment ballots because maintaining the status quo helps prevent progress. "

District of Columbia Psychological Association

"Psychologists in Washington, D.C. understand better than most what it is like to lack representation within important governing bodies. We recognize that students within APA are serving vital roles on committees, providing invaluable feedback at meetings, and selflessly volunteering their time in crucial ways. We at DCPA enthusiastically support the bylaw amendment "Voting Privileges and New Membership Category for Graduate Students" because it will give those students a meaningful voice."

APA 2021 President-Elect Candidates

Should APA Graduate Student members be given the privilege to vote in elections for the President-elect and Members of the Board, on bylaws amendments, and on apportionment ballots?

Here's what
the candidates had to say...

Frank Worrell:

Note: Dr. Worrell has been elected as the APA 2021 President-Elect. Congratulations Dr. Worrell and thank you for continuing to support graduate student voting rights!

The proposed bylaws amendment to give graduate students the vote was first approved by Council a few years ago when I was still on Council. I voted in favor of the amendment then and would have voted in favor of it this year on Council; I also plan to vote for the bylaw amendment when it comes to the membership later this year. I will admit that the proposed change does raise some trepidation in me, as if this amendment passes, it will add a substantial voting block to the electorate. However, my belief that graduate students are the future of APA and psychology and will act in the best interests of the association overrides my disquiet.

Steve Hollon:

Nothing would so invigorate a largely moribund organization like APA than for the graduate students to get the vote. APA has lost over 10,000 members since the turn of the century and has trouble getting early career professionals to reup their membership. Only about 10% of APA members vote in its elections and the same faces seem to continue to recycle through governance positions. PC-SAS is now accredited for licensure in the majority of states and over 80% of the top-rated programs now have PC-SAS accreditation. Several of the most highly ranked programs have already indicated that they do not plan to renew their APA accreditation in the future and the majority of future teaching faculty are trained in the research-oriented clinical programs. Anything that continues to the growing gap between science and practice is not only bad for the profession but worse for the public. APS is here to stay but if APA wants to continue to be viable it needs to replenish its membership with those who are young-at-heart (regardless of age) and forward thinking. There is no action that APA can take that would so reinvigorate the organization and ensure its continuing contribution to the public good than for the graduate students to get the vote. I am wholly in support.

Thomas Plante:

APA really needs to be a much more inclusive, welcoming, gracious, and embracing organization for all of our members. The privilege and responsibility of voting is one of the many ways that we can reach this goal of more inclusivity and engagement. Since the future of our profession and organization is clearly with our students, we should work very hard to invite them to fully participate in the life of the organization once they join as members. Thus, I am enthusiastically supportive of giving students the right to vote about organizational matters. I understand that many details must be worked out but I certainly agree in principle that our students should be able to vote. I hope to see that day that all psychologists and all of our students will be enthusiastic members of APA and will feel included, welcomed, and fully embraced being treated with great respect, dignity, and gracious hospitality.

Frank Schneider:

Yes, as I indicated at the APA Council meeting this past August, I support graduate student members being given voting privileges for three basic reasons. First and foremost is that in my view the APA benefits from diversification. Given that approximately 38% of APA graduate students are people of color and only about 9% of the current voting membership of APA are people of color, I believe that the former will bring much richness to our field. Multiculturalism can expand and deepen our understanding of what it means to be fully, experientially human, and if we are to be a truly humanistic field (which is or should be our highest aspiration) then we need to reflect the humanity we study, lest we become increasingly estranged from our humanity. Second, I have faith in the maturity level of our graduate students. As a whole I find them bright, impassioned, and dedicated to the advancement of our field. Finally I have faith that psychological science--if it is to be a human science--will be the ultimate arbiter of the validity of our findings; not monocultural silos that stultify our psychological science.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne:

As a long-time supporter of the work of APAGS, I am in favor of the proposal to grant voting privileges to graduate students in APA-wide elections. This step would represent an important way to ensure that APA reflects the concerns of those who are entering our discipline and also to provide graduate students with a voice in the future of the association. One of the key components of my presidential platform is that APA needs to reflect the interests of early career psychologists, and therefore this proposal is consistent with my own priorities to keep the association vital and flourishing.

APAGS Leaders, Past and Present

Current APAGS Committee Members and Subcommittee Members
Former APAGS Chairs:
Roseann Getchell, Psy.D. (2019 APAGS Chair)
Justin E. Karr, Ph.D. (2018 APAGS Chair)
Ian A. Gutierrez, Ph.D. (2016-2017 APAGS Chair)
Christine M. Jehu, Ph.D. (2015-2016 APAGS Chair)
Emily Voelkel, Ph.D. (2014-2015 APAGS Chair)
Jennifer M. Doran, Ph.D. (2013-2014 APAGS Chair)
Ali M. Mattu, Ph.D. (2011 - 2012 APAGS Chair)
Konjit V. Page, Ph.D. (2008-2009 APAGS Chair)
Kristi Van Sickle, Psy.D. (2006-2007 APAGS Chair)
Michael B. Madson, Ph.D. (2004-2006 APAGS Chair)
Christopher Loftis, Ph.D. (2002-2004 APAGS Chair)
Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D., ABPP (Former APAGS Chair)
David J. Pilon, Ph.D. (1988-89 APAGS Founding Co-Chair)
Scott Mesh, Ph.D. (1988-89 APAGS Founding Co-Chair)

Graduate Students

In a 2018 survey of APAGS members, 76% of students supported voting in one or more APA matters.

  • 68% said they wanted student needs represented in APA governance.

  • 50% said they currently have a vested interest in the outcomes of APA elections.

  • 45% said they want APA to serve students better.