The Special Libraries Association

Categorized | ChapterNews, Communications

SLA NY leadership statement regarding moving SLA 2018 from North Carolina


Dear Board Members,

Following last week’s open board meeting, the NY chapter wishes to thank the SLA Board for its careful consideration of all the ramifications regarding moving SLA 2018. It is wonderful to see a range of possible responses by SLA to the law in North Carolina discussed and considered thoughtfully. In the end, the SLA Board will need to make a decision based on the best information available by the voting deadline, an important component of which will be a dollar amount representing the total forecasted loss of members and exhibitors if SLA holds its 2018 conference in North Carolina. The immediate loss of $60,000 needs to be weighed against this potential loss quantified by SLA’s staff and we are confident you will consider this in your decision.

Moreover, we think that the SLA Board needs to return to what the point of the SLA conference actually is.

In addition to being a major revenue generator for the association (which may be jeopardized by remaining in North Carolina for reasons discussed elsewhere), it is our understanding that the purpose of SLA’s conference is to bring members together in a safe and productive space for a time of learning and networking.

At present North Carolina simply doesn’t work for this. A significant minority of our members may be actively threatened by visiting that state, as whatever affirmative action SLA chooses to support within the confines of the conference venue, they have little or no control over what happens outside. Still more members may be prohibited from attending by their workplace’s policies, and others will choose to stay away because of their strong personal feelings about the issue. This isn’t a good situation for anyone.

The concept of combating discrimination by “moving toward it with compassionate presence” (from the South Carolina’s board statement published to the leadership list) is a possible choice that individuals can make, but we don’t believe that this choice under the unique circumstances presented here is either the fiscally prudent one when weighing the possible financial loss to SLA in 2018 nor does it take into account the dangers potentially facing members who protest in this way.

As was mentioned on the April 13th SLA Board call, SLA members are not freedom fighters. This is a conference, not a protest march. We would encourage SLA to consider how to support members who live and work under such abhorrent legislation, but we don’t believe that the conference is the appropriate vehicle for achieving this.

In summary, we urge the SLA Board when considering all the options regarding the location of SLA 2018, to weigh the immediate loss of $60,000 against a potential far greater loss in 2018, as well as the safety of all SLA members.

We also hope that the SLA Board will look for an alternate 2018 conference location that North Carolina and South Carolina chapter members will be able to travel to quickly and easily so that as many SLA members as possible will be able to attend SLA  2018.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Board of the NY Chapter by,

Emma Davidson, President

Nicole Dupras, President-Elect

Marcy Winkler, Past President

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