Fired for Claiming to have Credentials in Psychology: False Claims by the Appelate Court

Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.


During the end of my seven-year tenure at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) I was accused of falsely claiming that I had credentials in psychology. As I will document, this charge is irresponsible.

The Appellate Court’s Accusations

The court’s erroneous conclusion was based on claims such as the following: “The district court found that one concern of the tenured faculty was [Dr. Bergman’s] ethics. For instance, Dr. Davidson testified that [Dr. Bergman’s] misrepresentation of himself was the reason for the denial of tenure.” The only example they gave was that I had claimed to have psychological credentials when in fact, the court ruled, I “had no psychological credentials.”(1) The claim that I have “no psychological credentials” is ludicrous. First of all, BGSU never accused me of providing false credentials in my application. What happened was, after I lost my position at BGSU, Dr. Jim Davidson alleged that the reason I was terminated was because I claimed to have credentials in psychology when, in fact, quoting from the court decision, I “had no psychological credentials.”
The court did not bother to determine if Davidson’s claim was correct but uncritically accepted all of the university’s claims without checking any claim. Davidson’s claim is especially ironic in view of the fact that I originally applied for the test and measurement position at BGSU, but was hired in the psychology area. A letter from Dr. Robert Reed stated that my “credentials have been … evaluated favorably by faculty members in the Educational Psychology Area.”(2) The first classes that I taught at BGSU were in the psychology area, and I taught in that area during the entire time I was on the faculty at BGSU. I have taught Introduction to Psychology, Adolescence Psychology, Child Psychology, Psychology of Adjustment, Social Psychology, Development Psychology, Adolescent Psychology, Industrial Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Educational Psychology, Human Growth and Development, Psychology of Giftedness, Introduction to Counseling, and other psychology classes at several colleges and universities for over two decades. I also have a Masters Degree in social psychology, and another Masters Degree in counseling psychology. The minor for my doctorate was in psychology and my dissertation was on an experimental treatment project for second-felony offenders involved in various psychology programs. My Ph.D. thesis, was 45 quarter hours of graduate credit.(3) I also did “psychological research” at the Circuit Court Probation Department in Oakland County, MI in the early 1970s. My graduate coursework in psychology included a total of 131-quarter hours—well over the hours needed for both a masters and a doctorate. I also have 191 hours in the sister area of sociology, mostly at the graduate level.

I also was licensed as a therapist, which required extensive training in the clinical area plus supervised experience working as a therapist. I first worked under Dr. Ricardo Girona from 1974 until 1980, then Dr. William Beausay at Arlington Psychological Associates from 1980 to 1985, both licensed psychologists. Licensure requires two years of full-time supervised experience. Until I was licensed, I was registered with the state board of psychology as a psychological assistant. To obtain a license the state law requires the candidate to “complete a minimum of ninety quarter hours of graduate credit … including a minimum of thirty quarter hours in: (a) Clinical psychopathology, personality, and abnormal behavior; (b) Evaluation of mental and emotional disorders; (c) Diagnosis of mental and emotional disorders; (d) Methods of prevention, intervention, and treatment of mental and emotional disorders. The individual must complete supervised experience … supervised by a … qualified professional approved by the committee.”(4) I met these requirements, and was licensed. My license enables me to “diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders” without supervision. (5) After I was forced out of BGSU, I was hired as an associate professor of psychology at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Michigan. I also have over 50 publications in the area of psychology, including two books. All of this can be checked by consulting my official transcripts, my work history, and the Ohio state license department records. The evidence submitted to rebut them was not even considered by the court. Instead, the court assumed that Dr. Davidson’s statement was true and did not bother to check any of these records, even though they were part of the court documents, but simply irresponsibly repeated the false claim made by Dr. Jim Davidson (who was himself terminated from the university!).

1 Gerald Bergman, Ph.D. vs. Bowling Green State University et. al., Case No. 86-3031 Court Transcript, p. 582.
2 Letter from Dr. Reed to Jerry Bergman dated February 21, 1973. Copy in Bergman files.
3 Evaluation of an Experimental Program Designed to Reduce Recidivism Among Second Felony Criminal Offenders. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms Publishers, 1976. 886 pp.
4 Ohio Laws and Rules, 1997, p. 6.
5 Ohio Laws and Rules, 1997, p. 6.

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