Dear CACLALS members,
The Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences has announced that the in-person Congress at Western University has been canceled as a result of the currently unfolding COVID-19 crisis. After weighing the possibilities and limitations of putting on an e-conference, the CACLALS executive has decided to cancel the 2020 conference.
We plan to defer the current conference and CFP to Congress 2021 at the University of Alberta. This would mean that all currently accepted papers would automatically be added to the 2021 program (pending their authors’ attendance), and we would also extend our CFP to next year to allow for new submissions. In the coming months, we will contact those whose papers have already been accepted to confirm whether they plan to attend the 2021 conference.
Our decision was not made lightly. In our discussion we considered the time and training commitment of those administering the conference (including panel chairs); concerns about childcare for those presenting from home; the limited experience that a digital conference offers when many attend CACLALS for the experience of gathering face-to-face; that the theme of “Confronting Anti-Blackness” requires the ethos of an in-person gathering; cancellations among our partner organizations; limits to Indigenous participation and the potential cancellation of our central event, the Indigenous Roundtable; and issues of accessibility, particularly for our international members. In light of these concerns, and many more, we felt it was not appropriate to continue this year. Nonetheless, we appreciate the efforts of the FHSS team who are currently working tirelessly to offer an online platform for those associations who will continue their conference electronically.
Please note the following policies for those seeking refunds:
- Conference and Congress fees are administered by FHSS and not CACLALS. We therefore cannot offer refunds for these fees directly. Our understanding is that FHSS will refund the fees and send a confirmation email; we will be in touch when FHSS provides further guidelines about those seeking refunds on conference fees, which we will promptly communicate to our members upon receiving them.
- As many of you will have purchased membership fees specifically for the conference, we realize that you may want to request a refund for these as well, particularly for members with limited funding. We will grant these requests. However, we kindly ask that members with secure funding consider maintaining their membership. As many of you know from our previous AGMs, CACLALS is consistently in a tight financial position, and we depend on membership fees to keep our conferences going at their current quality, and secure membership allows for more robust programs. Please note that requests for refunds on membership fees for the year should reach CACLALS no later than April 30. Please email membership refund requests to the Secretary-Treasurer, Jesse Arseneault (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject heading “Membership Refund.” You should also include in the body of the message your mailing address so that a check can be sent to you.
For active members, we will also be posting Treasurer’s and President’s Reports on our website and are exploring the feasibility of an AGM via Zoom in the coming months.
In the meantime, we wish all our members safety and good health. We will be reaching out to you as we work through these unforeseen times.
The CACLALS Executive