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September 26th, 2023

SHOT 2023 Annual Meeting Announcement

Dear SHOT Community,

Great news: we have succeeded in finding an alternative venue in Los Angeles to hold our annual meeting in person! The University of Southern California has generously agreed to host the entire meeting with no charge for the space. We will meet near downtown LA in USC’s on-campus hotel, which is not part of the labor dispute. This means you can keep your travel plans intact, and we will have the joy of seeing each other face to face (albeit masked indoors, of course).

One important point before we outline the background and a few details. The USC hotel has plenty of meeting space, but just a few hotel rooms still available. It’s holding all of these for us. SHOT, in turn, will prioritize access to these rooms for two groups: (1) the organizing team, who needs to be onsite from dawn to dusk, and (2) members with mobility challenges. If you are part of group (2), please immediately email the SHOT secretariat so they can work with you on the room reservation. Please note that USC hotel room availability is unfortunately very limited. We hope we can accommodate all those who need this feature, but we can’t be sure until we know how many people require it. Do not contact the hotel directly (you’ll be told that they’re sold out – that’s us).

Background
As you know, our community poll overwhelmingly came out in favor of moving the meeting out of the Long Beach hotel under labor dispute. The qualitative poll responses and subsequent Executive Committee discussion raised many important caveats, some creative ideas, as well as a lot of trepidation about meeting online. We also received separate missives from many members detailing their thoughts. Taking all of this into account, SHOT officers began exploring a wide range of options. We were blown away by the solidarity expressed by our colleagues at the LA-area institutions we approached, many of whom energetically explored options. By the end of last week, we had three in-person options on the table: USC, UCLA, and Loyola Marymount.

With approval from the EC, we are going forward with the USC option. We owe a very special thanks to SHOT member Aro Velmet, associate professor in the USC history department, for his considerable work in achieving this outcome. Brenda Mendoza, the Assistant Dean of External Affairs at USC, has put a huge amount of time (and deployed a lot of political capital) into negotiating an affordable deal – including offering the meeting space pro bono. As those of you who’ve organized large meetings know, this is an absolutely amazing concession; without it, we could not move forward.

Next steps
Inevitably, this solution will require attendees to expend a bit of extra effort thinking about hotel and transportation options. Given that the vote overwhelmingly indicated that people wanted to avoid Long Beach, we trust that most of you are up for this! We are working diligently to identify hotels that are not part of the labor dispute. We will try to work out a discounted rate at one or more of these, but we can’t promise anything. We will post the list on Wednesday or Thursday, along with any other relevant details. At that point it will be up to you to decide where you want to stay, and to act accordingly. Of course, we can’t and won’t stop anyone from staying at the original hotel if they so choose. Just be sure to look up distances and factor in LA traffic (see also information that will be posted on the SHOT website). All sessions and events will take place at the USC hotel. The original program schedule remains intact. Sessions listed as hybrid will remain that way.

SHOT leadership is working with the Hyatt Long Beach to try to minimize the financial impact of these changes. Until we conclude this conversation, we won’t know the precise financial impact of our collective decision. But we have run numbers and consulted with our lawyer, and we can affirm that even the worst-case scenario will not break our society’s finances. Obviously, though, we want to minimize the damage so that we can continue to fund our many worthy goals.

In closing, we return to the most important point. The program committee has assembled a truly exciting program, which we will get to enjoy in person in Los Angeles. In addition to the intellectual feast ahead, we hope that getting through all this tumult together will bring a special sense of solidarity, purpose, and joy to the meeting. We are so looking forward to seeing you!

Yours in SHOTness,

Gabrielle Hecht, President
Deborah Douglas, Vice President
Amy Bix, Treasurer
Jan Korsten, Secretary