Board Votes to Move 2017 Meeting Out of North Carolina

    By: Douglass S. Hale, M.D. on Jul 20, 2016

    The Board of Directors had their summer meeting this past weekend in Baltimore; we have four in person meetings each year.  The purpose of the Board meetings is to work with our Councils, Committees, and Executive Director to ensure the future of our Society is strong and financially sound. Occasionally these meetings are also used to respond to any unplanned issues that arise during the year. It is the Board’s responsibility to act in the best interest of AUGS and ensure Board actions represent the membership.

    At this past weekend’s meeting, we had a specific issue challenge us as an organization. As many of you may know, we plan for our annual meeting locations three years in advance. Contracts have to be signed, convention centers reserved, hotels blocked, and logistical planning takes place years before the actual event. Three years ago, Charlotte, North Carolina was chosen as the location for the 2017 annual scientific meeting.  Down payments were made to make the appropriate reservations to secure the convention center and needed hotel rooms.  Then in March 2016 House Bill 2 passed. We knew we had a problem.  Any action that discriminates against any of our members, affects us all. For those of you not familiar with this bill, it discriminates against our LGBT community.  Known as the “bathroom bill” the state of North Carolina was sued by the federal government for being discriminatory. The state of North Carolina counter sued the federal government to preserve the bill and it remains an ongoing legal battle.  We had hoped the bill would be repealed, however that hope proved futile. These bills exist in some form or another in many other states and pose a barrier to future plans for AUGS meetings.

    The Board felt strongly that this issue needed to be discussed and that the Board had to make a decision not only about protecting and standing by our members, but also to make a decision involving the payment of cancellation fees. This sensitive issue was discussed at length. After a thorough and thoughtful discussion, the decision to move the meeting out of North Carolina was made. 

    It was not an easy decision but it was the right decision. The Board felt strongly that the payments of cancellation fees were clearly outweighed by the support we needed to show our members. The Board also felt the Society could manage the impact of the cancellation fees in our 2018 budget. The final cancellation fees will not be known until 2017. At that time, the financial impact could be significantly reduced by another group renting the convention center and others renting our hotel room block. 

    However, you can also have a major say in how this affects our Society by showing your support for our members and for the Board’s recent decision. Vote with your feet and make it a priority to attend all or part of PFD Week 2016 and PFD Week 2017. Bring your friends, your colleagues, your allied health partners and I look forward to welcoming you all to Denver in a few months.   

    Released: July 20, 2016, 10:49 am
    Keywords: Announcements

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