A Medieval War -- Over Arizona





As soon as Arizona enacted its law designed to crack down on unauthorized immigration to the state, academic groups started to announce they would stay away from the state. But many of those announcing that they would shun it until the law was repealed didn't in fact have any major events scheduled for Arizona. (Much of the law's enforcement has been blocked by a federal judge, but the legal and political fighting remain unsettled.)

On Tuesday, the Medieval Academy of America -- following an intense debate among its members -- announced that it was proceeding with plans to hold its annual meeting in Tempe in April. The meeting attracts hundreds of scholars, and those who are members of the academy narrowly voted down a plan to move the conference (although that vote was advisory only). The decision to go ahead with a meeting in Arizona is getting blasted by some academy members, some of whom say that they are calling off plans to present at the meeting and are canceling memberships.

The academy's council (its governing board) made the decision to stay in Arizona, but took a poll of members, 42 percent of whom wanted to move the location, and 46.5 percent of whom wanted to proceed as planned, with the remainder not expressing a view.

Notably, the academy also asked members if they would be willing to pay the costs of relocating the meeting. This is a key issue as most associations that face pushes to move their meetings cite the high cost of breaking contracts as a key reason not to, and the academy would have lost tens of thousands of dollars by moving -- a huge sum for a scholarly association without deep pockets. Only 32.7 percent of members said they would be willing to contribute to defraying such costs....


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