RSA’s mission is to bring scientists, trainees, and students together to promote and disseminate alcohol research. The Society must make thoughtful decisions as to the locations and venues of our annual meeting. RSA is committed to ensuring the safety and productivity of our members and anyone else who chooses to attend our events. Consistent with this commitment, the Executive Committee and Board will make every effort to select locations and venues for our scientific meetings that are welcoming and inclusive for all members of our vibrant and diverse scientific community as well as the communities we serve.
As the commitment to a specific meeting location and venue occurs years before the scientific meeting is held, the climate with regard to individuals’ safety and autonomy may change after a location and venue is contracted. When such a change occurs, or if information comes to light that indicates the laws, norms, and practices of the location and venue are contrary to our ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Executive Committee and Board will examine all possible options to remediate the issue.
Financial considerations will also apply to the decision-making process, so as to ensure the financial health of our society. When the financial penalties for changing a meeting location or venue are untenable, the Executive Committee and Board, in partnership with the Diversity Committee, will make a clear statement to the membership regarding the conflict between our ideals and those of the meeting location or venue and will additionally identify strategies to support attendees who may feel unsafe or marginalized based on the climate in the location or venue.
Such actions may include, but are not limited to:
- Educating attendees as to the source of conflict and considerations from relevant experts.
- Providing additional opportunities and spaces for attendees to seek support at the meeting.
- Explore direct ways the Society and attendees can advocate for the affected groups in the local community.
The Executive Committee and Board will strive for transparency and solicit input from members of the Society in addressing this important issue.