Behind ISU’s Blatant Violations of Professional Standards Are Shadows of Discrimination Against Jun Yu

As many of you know, My husband Jun Yu is fighting against injustice in higher education. ISU ruined his 5 yrs of education & future, and denied him the PhD he rightfully earned. Learn more and support his cause at #JusticeForJun


IMG_0737People have been asking, where is the discrimination in Jun Yu’s case? The answer is, modern discrimination and racism usually lurk behind more obvious wrongdoing.

While ISU committed acts of aversive racism against Jun (see aversive racism report), at the same time, they egregiously violated professional standards in how they dealt with Jun.

Why does it matter that ISU violated professional standards? The answer is, because universities cannot substantially deviate from accepted academic norms and professional standards are academic norms. (See Regents of University of Michigan v. Ewing, 106 S.Ct. 507, 513, 474 U.S. 214, 224-25 (U.S.Mich.,1985). See also Emerson v. North Idaho College, 2006 WL 3253585, at *8 (D.Idaho, 2006).)

Let’s look at how ISU blatantly violated professional standards in psychology.

One of the strongest aspects of Jun’s case is the fact that ISU blatantly violated the professional standards in psychology.

The Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct from the American Psychological Association (aka the APA Ethics Code) is a set of standards that every licensed psychologist in the US is bound to follow. Every psychology board in the US has adopted the APA Ethics Code as part of their laws that govern the work of every licensed psychologist. Furthermore, the ISU clinical psychology PhD program has been accredited by APA since 2001. Accreditation standards also demand that department faculty follow APA Ethics.

The APA Ethics Code includes a standard (7.06) about supervising students:

7.06 Assessing Student and Supervisee Performance

(a) In academic and supervisory relationships, psychologists establish a timely and specific process for providing feedback to students and supervisees. Information regarding the process is provided to the student at the beginning of supervision.

(b) Psychologists evaluate students and supervisees on the basis of their actual performance on relevant and established program requirements.

Ethics in Psychology and the Mental Health Professions by Dr. Gerald Koocher and Dr. Patricia Keith-Spiegel, one of the most popular textbooks for training psychology students in ethics, stated regarding 7.06:

When discussing serious criticisms with supervisees, one should invariably offer these in writing, followed or accompanied by a dialogue about expected changes with a remedial plan…. [Students are] certainly entitled to feedback and would be justified in asserting the inappropriateness of saying nothing about shortcomings until the final evaluation. Such behavior, if true, afforded [the student] no opportunity to attempt remediation of his defects and denied him due process.

Now, look at what happened to Jun at the hands of this supervisor as reported by the Idaho State Journal:

During Yu’s fourth year in the program, John Landers was his supervisor for the fall 2011 PSYC 7748 Clinical Externship class at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

The externship was not a required course, but Yu was recommended by the CTC to the externship to gain experience “critical for students to compete for national internships,” according to the complaint.

According to the contract, the externship was planned to last for one year.

But just two months into the externship, Landers dismissed Yu from the externship, alleging that Yu was “unable to grasp the communication nuances.” This was despite Yu meeting the English proficiency standards for admission at the university.

Yu received no prior, specific feedback regarding alleged areas of concern or remediation. [Emphasis added] Landers wrote that “this site could not afford to engage in remediation efforts” and he acknowledged that “daily feedback may have been too indirect.”

I would also add to this that Jun received his first and only evaluation from this supervisor 10 days after the dismissal. Yes, that’s right. He was dismissed first, and then 10 days later the supervisor did the evaluation.

All of this — no prior, specific feedback regarding alleged areas of concern, no remediation, doing an evaluation 10 days after a dismissal — is apparently a flagrant violation of APA Ethics Code 7.06, as described by the authors of that ethics textbook.

And it wasn’t the only one. In fact, the ethics expert reported in his summary of opinions:

If the allegations made by the ISU faculty are to be believed, they clearly failed to perform appropriate timely assessments; provide timely feedback; propose and assist with necessary remediation; or provide timely monitoring of off-site placements….As previously noted, there were no written documentation of substantive guidance, remedial feedback, or corrective action. (Docket 22-1 p. 24 of 44.)

In other words, they didn’t ensure proper supervision in accordance with 7.06.

You’re probably now scratching your head and asking yourself, how in the world could ISU do this to Jun? How could they completely disregard ethics in how Jun was treated in a supervisory situation? It’s a question Jun and I have asked ourselves again and again.

And as noted above, that example with the externship supervisor is not only way ISU apparently violated 7.06, as this excerpt from the aversive racism report reminds us:

There are many ways in which Dr. Leslie Speer violated the minimal due process that was available to Mr. Yu (Plaintiff Document 000053-000059) – ranging from not offering a second assessment until after his dismissal to not working with him to develop a remediation plan in the face of performance concerns to not assembling the group of supervisors in Ohio to discuss his performance before dismissal – and the ISU faculty used the decision of Dr. Speer to justify dismissing Mr. Yu from the program. The ISU faculty’s decision to privilege the opinion and decision-making of a supervisor who was violating accepted standards means that the decision was, at least in part, based on a violation of accepted professional norms. (Docket 24-1 p. 28 of 33.)

So, once again you have a supervisor who 1) dismissed Jun first and then did an evaluation; and 2) didn’t do any remediation.

It’s no wonder, then, that Jun’s ethics expert concluded that ISU violated 7.06:

A number of ethical and accreditation standards have been violated in Mr. Yu’s case. These include ethical violations by faculty members related to following through with program descriptions (Code: 7.02), flaws in assessing and responding to student performance (Code: 7.06), and avoiding harm (Code: 3.04). (Docket 22-1 p. 23 of 44)

And so did Jun’s cultural competency expert:

Ethical violations by ISU faculty and clinical supervisors, as guided by the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (American Psychological Association, 2010), include boundaries of competence in training international students who speak English as a second language (APA Ethics Code Standard: 2.01), avoiding harm (APA Ethics Code Standard: 3.04), and assessing student and supervisee performance (APA Ethics Code Standard: 7.06). (Docket 22-1 p. 34 of 44.)

It’s very disturbing that an APA Accredited Program would apparently violate the very standards they are supposed to model and train students in.

But more importantly, it shows a substantial departure from accepted academic norms.  (See Regents of University of Michigan v. Ewing, 106 S.Ct. 507, 513, 474 U.S. 214, 224-25 (U.S.Mich.,1985). See also Emerson v. North Idaho College, 2006 WL 3253585, at *8 (D.Idaho, 2006).)

This is why you’ll find the following statements in the conclusions reached by Jun’s experts (emphasis added):

“Taken as a whole, the actions of the faculty at ISU in dismissing Mr. Yu as they did constitute, in my opinion, substantial arbitrary and capricious and departures from accepted academic norms in clinical psychology doctoral programs.” (Ethics expert, Docket 22-1, page 25)

“On the basis of these facts, it is my opinion that the behavior of the members of the Idaho State University psychology department was arbitrary and capricious and deviated from accepted professional norms in psychology.” (Aversive racism expert, Docket 22-1, page 31)

“In my opinion, the actions of the faculty at ISU in dismissing Mr. Yu as they did, was a substantial departure from accepted academic norms.” (Cultural competency expert, Docket 22-1, page 36)

So, how is all this discriminatory?

Look at it this way. ISU had an obligation and responsibility to adhere to APA Ethics in their treatment towards Jun — particularly as a clinical psychology program responsible for educating students in ethical and professional behavior. Yet, they flagrantly violated ethics, the most important professional standards for psychologists.

Anyone who knows APA Ethics would find the violations I mentioned above abhorrent, particularly for people in psychology (often referred to as “the helping profession”). This is a field that supposedly cares about safeguarding the rights of others. Yet, as Jun’s ethics expert wrote, “the program…did not adequately respect [Jun’s] rights.” (Docket 22-1 p. 24 of 44.)

It’s as if ISU believed, when it came to their behavior with Jun Yu, professional standards and ethics no longer apply.

Ask yourself, why would an APA-Accredited program so blatantly violate these standards? And why did the wrongdoing happen to the one student in the program who was Asian, from China, spoke English as a second language?

P.S.: Based on feedback in the comments, I’ve since edited the article to make things clearer to readers, particularly noting the importance of Regents of University of Michigan v. Ewing in Jun’s case.

My husband Jun Yu is fighting against injustice in higher education. ISU ruined his 5 yrs of education & future, and denied him the PhD he rightfully earned. Learn more and support his cause at #JusticeForJun

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33 thoughts on “Behind ISU’s Blatant Violations of Professional Standards Are Shadows of Discrimination Against Jun Yu

  • May 24, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Ambiguous evidences are always hard to be taken seriously. Too much reasonable doubt to be certain one way or another.

    • May 24, 2016 at 8:45 am

      Thanks for the comment. The evidence of violations of professional standards in psychology in Jun Yu’s case is not ambiguous. If you assume they uphold standards for others, why not Jun?

      Also, I’ve edited the article to add in the Regents of University of Michigan v. Ewing ruling — see my edits.

      • May 24, 2016 at 11:45 am

        I think blacklifematters was talking about the “ambiguous evidence” the expert talked about coming from the college which they used against Jun.

  • May 24, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Psychologists violate the APA’s “ethics” code all the time. The APA was complicit in helping the CIA with their torture programs, literally designing ways to torture people who had never been convicted of a crime.

    • May 24, 2016 at 9:22 am

      Thanks for the comment. Violations of professional standards such as APA Ethics do indeed matter in this case. APA Ethics are professional standards in psychology, and they are also part of academic norms for how students in professional psychology programs should be treated.

      The Regents of University of Michigan v. Ewing case established that universities may not substantially depart from accepted academic norms in their treatment/decisions regarding students. See my edits above.

  • May 24, 2016 at 1:37 am


  • May 24, 2016 at 2:17 am

    “unable to grasp the communication nuances.”

    As we’re all aware, there are many nuances in all languages, even between different cultural groups in the same country and language group. In many cities in the United States, a psychologist would do well to understand the communication nuances of a wide variety of immigrants and minorities. A psychologist from middle America may be sorely lacking in his communication skills when taken out of his immediate environment. It seems that John Landers was very narrow in what he expected. He wanted a student whose background and communication style was exactly like his.

    One example of a nuance I hadn’t been aware of until the translator of my novel pointed it out: He said that in China, a shrug of the shoulders didn’t mean what I meant it to mean in my novel, so he changed it to something different.

  • May 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    I can’t remember if we’d ever discussed this, but why ISU in the first place? Idaho isn’t exactly a bastion of progressive thought, and I would think there would have been much better educational options just about anywhere else.

    Perhaps a little insight as to what led Jun to Idaho in the first place would establish some foundation for us all. Thanks!

    • May 24, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Ryan, clinical psychology PhD programs in the US are very competitive for applicants. Most clinical psychology PhD programs have only 5 slots and it’s not uncommon to have around 100 people or so applying for them. For the most sought-after programs, there are often as many as 200, 300, even 500 people applying. Ultimately you go where the offers are and Jun got the best offer from ISU.

      Also, Jun chose ISU initially because he liked the research/clinical interests of a certain faculty member.

  • May 24, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    So, what have you and Jun did so far to fight againt this ISU decision?

  • May 24, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Ok, I have read the other article! I know what you are up to now! So, how do people donate if they are in China?

    • May 27, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      TLAG, thanks for the comments. We don’t yet have a site for people in China — but we might open one later. If we do I promise I will let you know!

  • May 24, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    As CEO of small corporation in USA, I will tell a recent hiring that reflects deep rooted prejudice against minority and women in American society.

    During board discussion of application candidates, half the members openly expressed their preference for male applicants. I only favor the most capable applicant regardless of gender/ethnic background. I am not very politically corrected person. But I believed the productivity is more important than anything else in the business success. After voting, all minority candidates (including Asians) were eliminated. Only white candidates were accepted for further evaluation and interview.

    After several rounds of elimination, only three candidates (one male and two females) were left for the final vote. The male applicant was inferior to both females applicants in term of professional ability (based on school record, professional test scores, and problem solving ability during interview). During board meeting, several members still favored the male candidate over females. I was able to persuade most members except one to vote for the strongest candidate regardless of gender. The member stubbornly for male applicant is actually a female herself. She must hated her own sex very much. The final vote tally is gold for most capable female candidate, silver for male candidate with lowest professional ability, bronze for female candidate with capability above silver male candidate. We hired the first place candidate who is female.

    If the first female candidate were not available, you all knew what kind of outcome would be.

  • May 25, 2016 at 3:04 am

    Get some inspiration from Jack Ma
    1. Get used to rejection
    2. Keep your dream alive
    3. Focus on culture
    4. Ignore the #LittleMan
    5. Get inspired
    6. Stay focused
    7. Have a good name
    8. Customers are #1
    9. Don’t complain, look for opportunities
    10. Have passion

    Getting rejection is only the first step.

    • May 26, 2016 at 2:04 am

      Jack Ma is hardly the most suitable ‘role model’ as his company ‘Alibaba’ tacitly endorses the sale of counterfeit goods.

  • May 25, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    I feel sorry for Jun. From what i understand He was just a simple chinese man with a big dream and tried his best to make it but things get more complicated than expected. if this situation is more complicated maybe it is better to just let go of all these and be back to the once simple life had and start all over again while there is time. go back tot he root where your heart is Jun. A chinese would always just prefer to be simple and not complicated……there is still chance to start your simple life again..dont make it morec omplicated…learn to let’ll see that some endings are better fresh beginning…..i’ll pray for you Jun.

  • May 26, 2016 at 3:45 am


    Why this sound like a classical sour-grape type comment?

    If you can achieve even 1% what Jack Ma achieved as imperfect human being, you can congratulate yourself.

    But if this comment make you feel better about yourself as human being than Jack Ma, go for it.

    • May 26, 2016 at 4:04 am

      Just because someone is rich, it does not absolve them when complicit in cheating others, especially when it comes to cheating people with less power and money.
      It is all the more reason to be honest and fair, and to be seen to be honest.

      It is this kind of making excuse for the rich and powerful that has led to the abuse of students such as Jun, where integrity is ignored for the sake of a buck.

  • Pingback:Pub'd in The Huffington Post: Why I Don’t Trust Psychologists, Thanks to Idaho State University | Speaking of China

  • May 26, 2016 at 11:44 am

    this is Trixie again just to remind Jun life can be simple. Let go of the failures. Start all over again to where your heart is. Simple not complicated,remember that…..You and your wife already had too much burdens in your life. It is maybe best time to assess your situation. Life can be more simple if we learn to let go and start fresh.

  • May 28, 2016 at 1:56 am

    Hi Jocelyn!.This is Trixie again. You are always welcome. i just thought from what i have read from your blogs previously up to this time,You and Jun had so much pressures to face even before and am proud of you guys for being strong and tough to face every situations hand in hand. But sometimes,there are just things in this world that we just need to let go,face the realities of life and start anew beginning that is less complicated and yet can give peace to both of you. Does not matter what others has to say ,if it can’t help you and just give pressures just never mind,at the end of it all,what only matters is what you knew and your husband. and that you guys both will not give up and hand in hand overcome every situations. always praying for you guys of a more simple yet peaceful years of togetherness.

  • May 29, 2016 at 3:14 am

    I have had similar experience in the US higher education. I was forced to add a faculty to be my academic advisor who’s also served as the doctoral desert action committee chair. She (now is he) has never given me any academic advice but denied my right to defend my dissertation. I had to start all over again in another institution. Just because I was once a F-1 visa international student, s/he treated me with no respect. I am very sorry to hear your husbands experience but I am so glad to see someone who is fighting so hard to earn the justice! Good luck and I hope that you will earn the justice you deserved!

    • June 1, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Thank you for the support, S. That is just awful that you had a similar experience, and makes me wonder just how many more students could say the same.

  • Pingback:3 Lessons I've Learned About Modern Racism from Idaho State University's Bad Behavior Towards My Husband | Speaking of China

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