Wednesday, September 13, 2006

$43,600

So, this will be my last post on this topic, but: it turns out that ASA members voted with their feet and wallets that they didn't like the arrangements offered in Atlanta in 2003, such that the association owed a fee to the hotel. Rather than pay the fee, the association (Michael Burawoy, president) opted to contract to hold the meetings again at the same hotel in Atlanta in 2010. The amount ASA would have had to pay: $43,600, or about $3/member, or something like $11-12/meeting-attending-member. Additional reason:
It was also agreed that it was extremely unlikely, as Council had indicated in August, that the Association could avoid having a meeting in the South within the next decade and that, of all the southern venues, Atlanta provides the best facilities for the needs of our meeting.
Here is the pertinent extract from the official ASA Council minutes.

I cannot believe this was how I was robbed of my chance to host a blogging-and-beignets party. The bar tab for that alone might have been $43,600. Nonetheless: ASA-NOLA 2010! The dream lives on!

BTW, ASA Council minutes also indicate that the cumulative losses of Contexts magazine through 2005 were $630,000.

19 comments:

alan said...

I have to go back to Atlanta because not enough people paid for $12 hamburgers in the lobby?

Splendid.

gabriel said...

I say that we secede from ASA and form a sociology section within AEA. Think of the advantages:
--cheaper dues
--no "public sociology" or "animals and society"
--all you can eat beignets

Anonymous said...

This is crazy. We have to go to Atlanta because they poorly negotiated the initial contract, underestimating how many people wouldn't attend or would leave early? Everyone at the time complained quite a bit about it (as reflected in the low revenue) almost rivaling Anaheim for bad ASA city choice. Jeez...

Anonymous said...

Gabriel: That's taking it back to the beginning. See Chapter 1 of ASA history. The More You Know. (also, no astrosociology)

Anonymous said...

Gabriel: The ASA was originally known as the American Sociological Socieity. That's A.S.S. Appropriate under the circumstances, no?

jeremy said...

ASA staff are good people and certainly not idiots. I don't think the Atlanta decision was sensitive to the preferences of members, especially given how much the meetings cost attendees, but maybe I overestimate the preference for diversity once one is talking about sites outside the New York and San Francisco insatiable-wonderzones. I also don't really understand why ASA needs to schedule out its meetings farther ahead than the Olympics.

jlp said...

I had a grand time in Atlanta, though I was previously oblivious to member preferences.

Anonymous said...

BTW, ASA Council minutes also indicate that the cumulative losses of Contexts magazine through 2005 were $630,000.

!!! Jeremy, having decreed that the "changing convention" movement dead, please consider leading the movement to turn the tap off on this sea of red ink. Six-Hundred-And-Thirty-Grand! Do y'all appreciate what an INSANE number that is for an academic professional association? Stop Contexts, stop it now!

Anonymous said...

Atlanta's just too hot in August. I'd even vote for Miami over Atlanta because of the ocean factor.

Kim said...

As much as I like to gripe about some ASA practices, I don't think it's entirely fair to second-guess the Atlanta contracts. Occupancy rates were at historical highs in the late 1990s & pre-9/11 2000s, which is presumably when the guts of the Atlanta contracts were being negotiated; consequently, hotels could demand extremely favorable terms. What looks like a stupid idea now, after 5 years of low (but recovering) occupancy rates, probably didn't look so stupid back then.

jeremy said...

I want to be plain that I, personally, am not second-guessing the original Atlanta contract, but rather the decision to handle the shortfall by meeting in Atlanta again.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough Kim, but I don't know that it's necessarily the members' job to be circumspect. Most people didn't want to go to Atlanta to begin with, fewer still want to return. If people don't express that we might be headed back a third time.

tina said...

Well that makes an awful lot of sense, Kim, and I take my gripe back.

Gwen said...

I just like that they say they couldn't avoid having a meeting in the South, which makes me suspect that ideally they might like to.

RachelsTavern said...

I should start by saying, I enjoyed Atlanta more than any other ASA I have been to. I agree with Jeremy that there are other ways to resolve this problem rather than just agreeing to meet there again, but I also agree with gwen. I definitely read that quote as the ASA wanting to avoid the entire south, which makes the ASA look like a bunch of bigots, something we should be ashamed of. Although I think a large majority of ASA members would openly admit to not wanting to ever meet in the south, they need to get over it. The meetings should be rotated around the country--southeast, southwest, northeast, and northwest. There's more to this world the NYC and SF. Seriously, do we care about outreach and advancing the discipline or our own bourgeois sensibilities.

I also have to admit that I really enjoyed having the meetings in a convention center opposed a hotels.

Anonymous said...

I agree with RachelsTavern (and Gwen), minus the convention center bit. Hurricane season and August weather seem at least somewhat legitimate, but those don't seem to be the driving factors either. . .
-andrea

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with the south, but why Atlanta over NOLA?

eszter said...

There are some big cities in Texas as well, why aren't those options? Because it's August? Or because it doesn't count as the South? (JK)

I agree with Anon 7:51am, how come the Contexts cost didn't get more play in your post? I think it deserves a separate entry, c'mon, let's see it! The idea that middle school teachers (supposedly the intended audience) would pay $12 (or is it $25?) for a magazine-type publication always seemed unrealistic to me.

Anonymous said...

Stop Contexts! Stop it now!!!