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Change the Date of the Annual Meeting

This petition had 1,324 supporters

We, the undersigned members of the American Political Science Association (APSA), call upon the APSA to change the traditional date of the Annual Meeting and Exhibition.  The current date of Labor Day weekend is problematic for at least three major reasons:

1)  Beginning of the Semester.  Colleges and universities on semesters typically begin their academic years in late August or immediately after Labor Day.  As a consequence, many faculty members are forced to choose between attending the Annual Meeting or attending their first graduate and undergraduate classes of the semester.  Missing class anytime, but particularly the first class of the semester, should be concering to APSA and its members.  For schools that begin immediately after Labor Day, the current APSA date means Poltical Science faculty are absent as new graduate students are arriving and going through orientation.  PhD and MA students in our discipline thus start their programs on a very awkward note.

2)  The Academic Job Market.  Due to its timing, the APSA Annual Meeting does not play as useful a role in the academic job market as it might.  Whereas other disciplines have systematically incorporated initial interviews into their annual meetings, the APSA Annual Meeting falls awkwardly before most application deadlines, which makes it difficult for most departments effectively to screen applicants at the Annual Meeting.  Enhancing APSA's role in the job market would be beneficial to both applicants and hiring departments.

3)  Family Unfriendly.  Not only is the end of August the beginning of the academic year for many colleges and universities, it is also the beginning of the school year for many elementary and secondary schools.  Many APSA members are forced to choose between attending the Annual Meeting and spending the last long weekend of the summer with their children as they make the transition back to school.  This affects all parents of school-age children, but may be disproportionately difficult for women in our profession.  APSA would be well-served by considering the greater welfare of its members when scheduling the Annual Meeting.

Therefore, we call upon APSA to move the Annual Meeting to an appropriate weekend in the month of October.  The specific weekend in any given year should be chosen with as much respect as possible for religious holidays that fall during October. Such timing would (a) avoid interfering with beginning of the semester, (b) allow the Annual Meeting to play a greater role in the job market as ity would usefully fall after most application deadlines, and (c) be more family friendly.

We urge APSA to change the traditional date of the Annual Meeting as soon as contractual obligations will allow.

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