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The strange (legal) case of psychiatrist Bandy Lee
Bandy X. Lee, MD, MDiv is well known among those who follow books, articles, and television coverage of how Donald Trump's psychopathology makes him, as the book she edited proclaims him, a dangerous case.
She is currently in the news.
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This all began with her with a legal case which began with the following precipitated by the media hog par excellence and thin skinned Alan Dershowitz :
She Tweeted That Alan Dershowitz Might Be Acting Crazy. So Yale Fired Her.
The strange free-speech case of Bandy Lee.
“I won’t stop,” said the psychiatrist, who had alleged wrongful firing over tweets about Alan Dershowitz and tied her case to broader issues of academic freedom.
This was reported, I suspect with some satisfaction, on Rupert Murdoch's NY Post as follows:
|Click above for article. Note that the paper misspelled her first name.|
One aspect of her association with Yale which has been reported I wasn't aware of. I thought she was a regular paid member of their faculty working at least as an adjunct professor not on the tenure track. I don't know if she had a formal teaching role but this was reported: The reason the school said she was eventually let go was due to lack of a formal teaching role, the New Haven Register reported. Importantly, Lee responded to this in this tweet:
(a) 80-90% medical faculty are voluntary; and (b) “no teaching role” was decided on after firing, not before.
I was disabused of my assumption about her role at Yale being more active after reading several articles about this. It was reported in The Hartford Courant (subscription required) but referenced by the NY Post:
While Lee wasn’t paid, she claimed the Yale gig was worth potentially tens of thousands of dollars in perks and exposure that allowed her to consult globally, the Courant reported.
It took one day for Wikipedia to update their entry on her:
Bandy Lee often referenced her association with Yale and this, in my opinion, gave her a great deal of credibility. Here's a 2020 article about her from The Yale Daily News:
In fact, Dr, Lee was the driving force behind a conference back in 2017 where mental health professionals presented on subjected related to why Trump represented a danger to democracy. See article:
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Other prominent mental health professionals in the media include clinical psychologist John D. Gartner who (according to his Wikipedia page) was a part-time professor, until 2015, for 28 years at Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Another is psychiatrist Lance Dodes, a training and supervising analyst emeritus of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
These credentials certainly lent substantial bonafides to their opinions especially compared to other mental health professionals like me who have published opinions whose educational backgrounds are more pedestrian. For example, I was a clinical social worker and the director of a small mental health center who received my MSW degree from Michigan State University.
As of this writing the news coverage section of her website hasn't been updated with this latest unfortunate development. However Dr. Lee has tweeted her response:
I don't know how much of a chance an appeal of this decision will have. I'll leave that to those with a modicum of legal expertise. My own off-the-cuff opinion is that the law favors the right of a university to fire any non-tenured member of the faculty whether an unpaid volunteer or a paid instructor or non-tenured assistant professor without cause. I wish it could be a free speech case and then I think she'd have a good chance of winning on appeal but I am afraid it isn't.
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