(Submitted on May 3, 2021, with the first 1000 mental health professional and 1 Congress member signatories.)
Dear President Peter Salovey:
We are writing to express our strong objection against Yale’s termination of the president of the World Mental Health Coalition. As members of this organization and as clinicians across the country and beyond, we believe that Dr. Bandy Lee should be lauded, not denounced.
Dr. Lee had the courage and integrity to speak up and protect the public from the dangerous behavior of our former president and his enablers. There is sufficient media evidence to support her observations including, most recently, the incitement of the riot on January 6, 2021.
We are concerned about the destruction of democracy and the squashing of First Amendment rights. We are horrified by the use of the “Goldwater Rule” to shut down public discussion over the former president’s “dangerousness” or “fitness to serve.” Dr. Lee consistently used those terms and did not use DSM terminology.
Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman extensively diagnosed the former president (https://www.vice.com/en/article/wjjv3x/trumps-brain-and-the-25th-amendment) and yet did not face any criticism or consequences but was allowed to slander Dr. Lee and her renowned colleagues as practicing “tawdry, indulgent, fatuous, tabloid psychiatry.”
It is very disappointing that Yale, an institution known for its dedication to academic freedom, would terminate the services of a highly intelligent faculty member who made knowledge of Donald Trump’s dangerousness accessible to a lay population. Yale’s current actions are inconsistent with its past edict. Prior to her termination, Yale embraced Dr. Lee’s First Amendment rights and had no difficulty with her demonstration of free speech and independent thinking.
We believe that Dr. Lee deserves to be reinstated and recognized for her service to humanity and as a role model for students of true democracy in action.
The World Mental Health Coalition
(Written independently by WMHC members without Dr. Lee’s input)
“An esteemed and world renowned expert in anti-violence protection, Dr. Lee is a beacon of light for the voice of truth in protecting our Country from danger. Yale should stand proudly by her side in honoring the sanctity of our duty to warn as mental health professionals!!” – N.G., LCSW
“It is unfathomable that Yale would allow some nefarious connection with Dershowitz, already denounced throughout the media world, to be a cause for firing Dr. Lee (no matter what protestations or pearl-clutching either Yale or Dershowitz makes). Yale, either you sign on to incipient fascism or you stand for solid American and academic rights and principles. Which will you do?” – T.A., LCSW
“Dr. Lee is courageous and should be re-instated. Your actions against her are reprehensible. Dr. Lee is fighting for our democracy which is under threat.” – B.M., M.D., J.D.
“Dr. Lee is terrific. It is a terrible miscarriage of justice to have let her go from Yale. The merits of the Goldwater Rule have been discussed in the scholarly literature and in some cases, it is appropriate to break given the appropriate expertise. I know many colleagues who agree.” – D.W., Ph.D.