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  #1  
Old 05-17-2019, 12:41 PM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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AST Convention - petition to change the location

Alpha Sigma Tau's 2020 Convention is set to be held in Atlanta, Georgia. In light of recent anti-abortion legislation being passed, a petition started circulating on social media yesterday to move Convention to another location, stating in part: "As an organization that proclaims to empower women, having our National Convention in a state that has passed this bill would be hypocritical and cowardly... How can we, in good conscience, promote a state which is set on the dismantling of women's rights?"

I don't really want to get into a debate about abortion here, nor do I want to think about the logistical nightmare it would be to move an event such as this to a new location a year prior. What I want to start is more of a general discussion and hear everyone's opinions regarding the following:

1) Has your organization dealt with something like this before?
2) What do you believe is the solution here?
3) What repercussions do you foresee for an organization if Convention is moved due to political leanings and social issues? Not moved?
4) What do you believe the messaging from the organization should say if moved/not moved?
5) Anything else to add?
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:11 PM
carnation carnation is offline
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I think if AST presents it like that, pro-life women will be offended and a whole new can of worms will be opened.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:18 PM
naraht naraht is offline
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Closest that my fraternity (Alpha Phi Omega) has had to deal with was in 1992 our convention decided that the 1994 biennial convention would be placed in San Antonio. We've done conventions between Xmas and New Years for about the last 50 years. Not long after the decision, the announcement was made that the Alamo Bowl would be started on December 31, 1993. The Hotel that we were having negotiations with backed out, and no other location in San Antonio could be found. We ended up at the Dallas Ft. Worth Airport Hyatt.

Not sure this helps, but it is the closest that my organization has gotten.
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:51 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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I hear Alyssa Milano's place is available.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:03 PM
carnation carnation is offline
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I hear Alyssa Milano's place is available.

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Old 05-17-2019, 03:41 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Originally Posted by carnation View Post
I think if AST presents it like that, pro-life women will be offended and a whole new can of worms will be opened.
Could not agree more. Hell, if my CHAPTER was having a reunion and something like this was a factor, it would be a pallet of cans of worms opened.

Not to mention, think about all the legwork and preparation the alumnae chapter in Atlanta has done - to just flush that because of something they had zero to do with enacting would be immensely hurtful to those sisters.

I mean, whatís going to be next? We canít have a convention in a city where pot is legal? We canít have a convention in a city where the Ten Commandments are on a plaque at City Hall? You are never going to make everyone happy in a national group. If they want to make a statement, there are far better ways to do it.
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Old 05-17-2019, 06:28 PM
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DGTess DGTess is offline
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Delta Gamma faced an issue years ago about having a convention somewhere in the southwest - Arizona? New Mexico? - that had not recognized MLK Day as a holiday. Frankly, I don't recall all the rationale or the details of the kerfuffle, but I'm pretty sure the convention did not move.

If nothing else, congratulations to the women of AST for initiating the conversation. Do your delegates/officers have the option not to attend?
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:13 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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That would be Arizona.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:53 PM
Rod D Rod D is offline
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Non political organizations (those that have members of all views) shouldn't make convention location decisions based on political issues. Find the best spot and enjoy the convention.
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  #10  
Old 05-17-2019, 11:33 PM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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Originally Posted by 33girl View Post
Not to mention, think about all the legwork and preparation the alumnae chapter in Atlanta has done - to just flush that because of something they had zero to do with enacting would be immensely hurtful to those sisters.

I mean, what’s going to be next? We can’t have a convention in a city where pot is legal? We can’t have a convention in a city where the Ten Commandments are on a plaque at City Hall? You are never going to make everyone happy in a national group. If they want to make a statement, there are far better ways to do it.
Well exactly. Look, I don't think this is going to change anything or that the location is going to move. I'll just throw it out there and say that some of the people I know who signed it and are largely outraged on social media are alumnae who aren't heavily involved in the organization - if they are at all - and that annoys me, to say the least. But there are others who do attend Convention and who are volunteers or advisors, and I can respect that they have a strong opinion on the matter.

I think the reason this particular issue gained traction and turned into a petition is because it directly affects women, we're a women's organization, it can be a very polarizing issue, and it's currently front and center on every national news station. I also think there's an inclination to suggest a move because more recently, other companies and organizations - with A LOT more money than an NPC sorority - have boycotted certain states over political issues. We don't have the means to simply say, "I'm taking my ball and going home."

Regardless, we're a diverse sisterhood with members who have different opinions and viewpoints, and I don't think it would make sense to move it.

I'm curious to see if the national organization addresses it or hopes it just "goes away" on its own.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:39 PM
Theta1234 Theta1234 is offline
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My question to those that are creating the petition is, ďat what cost?Ē If this is being held at the Atl Convention center, the contracts were probably signed several years ago and the cost to break the contract could be well over six figures. Then there are the logistics of finding a new location and paying premium rates. Thatís a lot of dues...
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  #12  
Old 05-17-2019, 11:40 PM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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Originally Posted by DGTess View Post
If nothing else, congratulations to the women of AST for initiating the conversation. Do your delegates/officers have the option not to attend?
I suppose anyone could not attend Convention if they so choose? I don't really know what the rules are, to be honest. Of course, if there was some kind of large protest and refusal to attend by numerous delegates and officers, that might be a first and create a unique situation not dealt with previously. The aftermath of that would be anyone's guess.

But I don't know how much traction this will ultimately gain, and truthfully, I don't think it will come to that.
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:28 PM
navane navane is offline
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I have an example regarding my employer. I work as a Fire Captain for the State of California. The California state politicians disagree with a number of other U.S. states which they feel have discriminatory (anti-LGBT) policies. They don't believe that our state employees should be giving any business to those states which won't allow adoptions to LGBT people, have single-gender bathrooms, etc. Thus, the CA state politicians have banned state-funded travel to eight states: Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. This means that state employees are not allowed to travel to 8 of the other 49 states on state business.

Were you invited to be a guest speaker at the national water pollution conference in Texas? Sorry, can't go.

Want to discuss best practices in reducing childhood obesity with a highly successful program in North Carolina? Nope. No go.

The opioid addiction problem in the U.S. has reached critical levels. People are now using, overdosing and dying from the synthetic opiate drug fentanyl. Fentanyl is potent and extremely dangerous in even the tiniest of amounts. Police and fire department first responders have been hospitalized by accidental exposure to fentanyl while responding to 911 calls for overdoses. Being able to safely contain this highly toxic substance is vital to keeping our first responders safe.

We were told by our [State] agency that the federal government was offering an all expenses paid training course which specializes in the collection of hazardous materials evidence. Airfare, lodging, meals, and course fees are completely covered by the federal government. This course would be vital to help provide our responders with the technical know-how for how to safely address these high-risk responses to drug houses, etc. The course is held at the FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness.....

............in Alabama.


Look, I'm not going to get into whether I agree or disagree with another state's particular policies. The problem is that the COBRA Training Facility in Anniston, AL is the *only* facility in the United States where students train using *real* chemical agents. It's the only location where this course is taught.

We were required to route a request for an exemption up our local chain of command and have it sent to headquarters. Then our agency director had to sign-off on it at the State capital. Then it went to the GOVERNOR for approval. In they end, they decided to let some people go, but not all. Only one person per region was "allowed" to go. My coworker was selected and I stayed home. They wanted to "stick it to Alabama"; but, the training was a completely free course sponsored by the federal government. Therefore, Alabama wouldn't have gotten any of our money anyway. All we did was shoot ourselves in the foot by turning down a critical training opportunity in order to virtue signal.

Ok....so now I turn to AST. I get it. Some of the women want to send a message that they are not ok with that state's decision. As other posters here have already pointed out:

- some sisters might *agree* with the state measure and, thus, the petitioners wouldn't speak for everyone

- if finances have already been committed, you would be hurting the organization

- we could always find something to protest about in any state we go to. (Please see California's list of 8 banned states for other places for AST to avoid for conventions. Unless, of course, AST is ok with anti-LGBT policies.)

And then there's this -- forgive me, but I doubt that "Georgia" is going to cry over losing the AST Convention. I get it, I get it....."if we all join in and refuse to support, then it will eventually hurt Georgia in the pocketbook." Ok; but, again, give me any state in the union and I am sure I can find a reason for you to not go there.
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Last edited by navane; 05-18-2019 at 06:40 PM.
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  #14  
Old 05-18-2019, 07:29 PM
TriDeltaSallie TriDeltaSallie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carnation View Post
I think if AST presents it like that, pro-life women will be offended and a whole new can of worms will be opened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 33girl View Post
I mean, whatís going to be next? We canít have a convention in a city where pot is legal? We canít have a convention in a city where the Ten Commandments are on a plaque at City Hall? You are never going to make everyone happy in a national group. If they want to make a statement, there are far better ways to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod D View Post
Non political organizations (those that have members of all views) shouldn't make convention location decisions based on political issues. Find the best spot and enjoy the convention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by navane View Post
All we did was shoot ourselves in the foot by turning down a critical training opportunity in order to virtue signal.
All of these. I am so SICK of everything being politicized.
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  #15  
Old 05-18-2019, 11:27 PM
Rod D Rod D is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by navane View Post
I have an example regarding my employer. I work as a Fire Captain for the State of California. The California state politicians disagree with a number of other U.S. states which they feel have discriminatory (anti-LGBT) policies. They don't believe that our state employees should be giving any business to those states which won't allow adoptions to LGBT people, have single-gender bathrooms, etc. Thus, the CA state politicians have banned state-funded travel to eight states: Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. This means that state employees are not allowed to travel to 8 of the other 49 states on state business.

Were you invited to be a guest speaker at the national water pollution conference in Texas? Sorry, can't go.

Want to discuss best practices in reducing childhood obesity with a highly successful program in North Carolina? Nope. No go.

The opioid addiction problem in the U.S. has reached critical levels. People are now using, overdosing and dying from the synthetic opiate drug fentanyl. Fentanyl is potent and extremely dangerous in even the tiniest of amounts. Police and fire department first responders have been hospitalized by accidental exposure to fentanyl while responding to 911 calls for overdoses. Being able to safely contain this highly toxic substance is vital to keeping our first responders safe.

We were told by our [State] agency that the federal government was offering an all expenses paid training course which specializes in the collection of hazardous materials evidence. Airfare, lodging, meals, and course fees are completely covered by the federal government. This course would be vital to help provide our responders with the technical know-how for how to safely address these high-risk responses to drug houses, etc. The course is held at the FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness.....

............in Alabama.


Look, I'm not going to get into whether I agree or disagree with another state's particular policies. The problem is that the COBRA Training Facility in Anniston, AL is the *only* facility in the United States where students train using *real* chemical agents. It's the only location where this course is taught.

We were required to route a request for an exemption up our local chain of command and have it sent to headquarters. Then our agency director had to sign-off on it at the State capital. Then it went to the GOVERNOR for approval. In they end, they decided to let some people go, but not all. Only one person per region was "allowed" to go. My coworker was selected and I stayed home. They wanted to "stick it to Alabama"; but, the training was a completely free course sponsored by the federal government. Therefore, Alabama wouldn't have gotten any of our money anyway. All we did was shoot ourselves in the foot by turning down a critical training opportunity in order to virtue signal.

Ok....so now I turn to AST. I get it. Some of the women want to send a message that they are not ok with that state's decision. As other posters here have already pointed out:

- some sisters might *agree* with the state measure and, thus, the petitioners wouldn't speak for everyone

- if finances have already been committed, you would be hurting the organization

- we could always find something to protest about in any state we go to. (Please see California's list of 8 banned states for other places for AST to avoid for conventions. Unless, of course, AST is ok with anti-LGBT policies.)

And then there's this -- forgive me, but I doubt that "Georgia" is going to cry over losing the AST Convention. I get it, I get it....."if we all join in and refuse to support, then it will eventually hurt Georgia in the pocketbook." Ok; but, again, give me any state in the union and I am sure I can find a reason for you to not go there.
I'm sure those states are happy that Californian govt workers won't visit.
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