Students, alumni and community members are demanding the removal of the deanship of the head of DePaul University’s College of Science and Health.
More than 500 people have signed a petition calling for Dr. Gerald Koocher’s removal after he was mentioned in a report that accused the American Psychological Association of colluding with the government around 2005 to issue loose ethical guidelines on its interrogation techniques. The investigation concluded the APA’s principal motive was to curry favor with the U. S. Department of Defense.
Koocher is a past president of the APA.
“I do not want his signature on my diploma when I graduate at the end of this year,” said DePaul psychology major Jack O’Brien. “ I think it’s a moral stain on every single health professional who comes out of this great university.
According to the Hoffman Report, Koocher attacked the idea of the APA tapping into international law definitions in crafting ethical guidance, calling it a “distraction” to draw international law into APA’s ethics guidance.
Koocher became dean of DePaul University's College of Science and Health in July 2013, according to the DePaul website.
Koocher declined to comment when contacted by NBC 5. However, his website includes comments on the Hoffman Report.
“We do not now and never have supported the use of cruel, degrading or inhumane treatment of prisoners or detainees,” his statement read. “We absolutely reject the notion that any ethical justification for torture exists, and confirm that any such behaviors never have been ethically acceptable.”
Koocher’s written statement also said “we never colluded with government agencies or the military to craft APA policies in order to justify their goals or the illegal “enhanced interrogation” practices promoted by the administration of President George W. Bush.
A spokesperson for DePaul University had no comment.
The APA issued an apology after the release of the Hoffman Report in July and announced a series of corrective actions related to policies and procedures to strengthen its organization and demonstrate its commitment to ethics and human rights.