Here is the statement, which now puts the APA on record as participating in the inflation of "bullying" phenomenon and, much more seriously, conflating the criminal threats and racist abuse to which Prof. Yancy was subjected with "uncivil" but lawful speech (the APA even uses, bizarrely, the language of "cease and desist"!). Apparently some people at the APA learned nothing from the University of Illinois's crusade on behalf of "civility." There were reasons to be skeptical that an APA statement would have much impact on racist sociopaths of the kind who were harassing Prof. Yancy, but now the APA has gone and done something much more outrageous and unprofessional. The APA has no business regulating lawful "uncivil" speech, or legislating what counts as "civility," let alone calling on people to "cease and desist" from it. (I may have more to say about this later or tomorrow, but I wanted to get something up now, as I will be occupied for the next six hours or so with teaching, a job talk, and a prospectus defense.)
ADDENDUM: The statement is on the APA blog, where comments are open. Do save copies of your comments, in the event they do not appear for violating the new APA "civility" code. If I hear from readers that too many responses are being suppressed there, I'll open comments here tomorrow.
ANOTHER: Philosopher Lewis Powell (Buffalo), the lead editor of the APA blog, writes to share the following pertinent information for those planning on commenting there:
Our policy is not to approve anonymous or pseudonymous comments on the blog. Typically, when someone submits a pseudonymous comment using a real email address I will email them to explain the policy and invite them to recontribute their comment under their public identity, but not everyone who posts pseudonymously provides a functioning email address (and I suspect that many don’t take the time to read our comment policy). So if you could note to your readers that aspect of our commenting policy in the post where you direct them to comment on the statement, it would likely help prevent some frustrations for prospective commenters.
Given that some pseudonymous commenters may be unsure whether the APA's new "civility" policy rules them out of bounds, I'll open comments here for discussion of this statement, and whether it is or isn't appropriate, sensible, etc. Comments may take awhile to appear due to my other obligations today.
FEBRUARY 15 UPDATE: IHE has an article about the statement, which includes the usual obfuscatory blather from apologists for speech suppression, and which includes a quite remarkable quote from Amy Ferrer, the Executive Director of the APA, who has clearly gotten way out of her depth on this one (I should add she's been a quite effective Executive Director in many respects). Philippe Lemoine has a good response to all this, which I'll simply repost here:
So the APA is asking people who engage in a very ill-defined kind of speech to “cease and desist”, but we’re supposed to conclude that it isn’t “trying to restrict speech”. When you read that, it’s hard not to be reminded of the slogan of the English Socialist Party of Oceania in 1984, “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength”. Of course, I understand that you think the APA is trying to encourage some people to speak, but let’s be clear that it’s trying to do that by restricting the speech of others, on the ground that it has a silencing effect. This attack of freedom of expression in the name of freedom of expression has unfortunately become very common, but that doesn’t make it right, as anyone who has read Mill can tell. I also find the notion that people who support the APA’s statement are generally in favor of encouraging the expression of unpopular views preposterous. My impression was that, for instance, many of them didn’t think there was anything wrong with suing Kipnis for the unpopular views she expressed in CHE. But the most outrageous quote in that article is probably Amy Ferrer’s, who apparently can’t tell the difference between the racist insults and death threats that Prof. Yancy received and what people say on blogs, which confirms if there was any doubt left that people at the APA are badly confused.