FROM THE MIDWEST SOCIOLOGICAL SOCIETY BOARD OF DIRECTORS

MEETING UPDATE MARCH 13, 2020

MSS Cancels 2020 Meetings, Presenters Encouraged to Submit to 2021 Meetings

It is with great sadness that we announce that the MSS Board of Directors has decided that our 2020 annual conference cannot convene as scheduled in Omaha due to the novel coronavirus and the impact on public health. The decision to cancel was a very difficult and emotional one for all involved. 

The health of our members is a priority and it has become clear that public health officials recommend the cancellation of large gatherings because they have the potential to contribute to the spread of the novel coronavirus at this time. While many people experience mild illness with this virus, the risk to other groups of people (individuals over the age of sixty; people with existing respiratory, chronic or autoimmune conditions; pregnant women; and more) is greater. Precautions or preventative measures taken by individuals and the conference hotel are simply not enough at this time. We do not want to compromise the health of our members or provide any opportunity for additional spread of the virus.

We understand that many people have been counting on the MSS conference as a place to present their work. For those who are able, we invite you to resubmit your papers, panels, teaching techniques, roundtables, or posters to the 2021 Annual Meeting. We will be working diligently to ensure that Thematic Programming for the 2020 Meetings is not lost! Efforts are already under way to identify creative ways to bring “Sustainable Sociology” to MSS members. The opportunity to talk about sustaining our discipline and being leaders in the fight against climate change is just too important!

A number of individuals were to have received awards at the meeting. These awards will be presented, though not in person. Please watch for announcements of award winners in the coming weeks. All are deserving of recognition and we will do our best to provide that in a creative way.

We will focus on automatically refunding conference fees in the coming weeks. You need not request a refund. However, if you prefer to forego the refund and, instead, change your payment into a donation to the MSS, please let us know by Friday, March 20. To help us keep the refund process organized, please send requests to move your payment to a donation status to [email protected]

We apologize deeply for any inconvenience to our participants, and greatly look forward to seeing you all at the MSS 2021 Annual Meetings in Des Moines, Iowa, in March 2021.

A HUGE Thank You is due to so many for their support of this conference. From the many individuals who volunteered to organize sessions, preside, and present to the Program Committee and others who have given their time throughout the process of planning this conference, we thank you. With much respect and great appreciation, we recognize Chair Julie Pelton, Student Director Michael Miner, and Meeting Systems Coordinator Sadie Pendaz-Foster for the professionalism, extreme care and consideration given throughout the entire process and through the particular challenges this year. Thank you to the MSS Executive Committee and Board of Directors for your governance and to President Tom Gerschick for your leadership and support. It truly takes a community like that of MSS to build a strong conference and meet the challenges we are facing with grace and integrity.