Resolution Regarding the 2010 AHA Annual Meeting (2009)
At its regular meeting on January 5, 2009, the Council of the American Historical Association passed the following resolution in keeping with the spirit of a resolution adopted by the business meeting the previous day.
Whereas, The AHA is committed to equity in the workplace and equal rights regardless of race, ethnicity, religious belief, disability, gender, or sexual orientation;
Whereas, It is one aspect of the mission of the AHA to bring historical expertise to bear on issues of pressing public concern;
Whereas, The Council concurs with the spirit of the resolution approved by the 2009 business meeting; and
Whereas, A boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego in 2010 would actually benefit the owner financially, but would cause severe financial loss for the AHA;
Resolved, That the AHA will implement the following strategies that it believes will more effectively bring attention to this issue:
- Form a working group to collaborate with the 2010 Program Committee and the LGBTQ Task Force to create a series of sessions and special events that will address issues of equity and place questions of marriage and family in historical perspective.
- Set aside $62,500 of AHA funds, and up to $100,000 if needed if matching funds from members and outside donors are not raised, to support initiatives in this vein proposed by the working group, Program Committee, or LGBTQ Task Force.
- Arrange press coverage and invite public participation from San Diego and the surrounding communities to publicize the AHA’s position on equity and equal rights, as fully as possible. The American Historical Association proposes to use this Annual Meeting as an opportunity to educate its members and the public on this issue.
- Make hotel rooms available in convenient alternative venues for AHA members who do not wish to patronize the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.
The resolution placed before the business meeting (published in the December issue of Perspectives on History), would have committed the Association to join in a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego—the co-headquarters hotel for the 2010 annual meeting. The resolution spoke to concerns that the owner of the hotel had donated a large sum to support Proposition 8, which overturned a recent ruling from the California Supreme Court allowing homosexual marriage in the state. The AHA has been contractually committed to the hotel since 2003, and could not break its contract in order to join the boycott without paying a penalty of approximately $750,000. Therefore an alternative resolution was adopted by the business meeting and approved by Council in a slightly revised form.
The Council expressed its enthusiasm for using the 2010 meeting in San Diego as an opportunity to bring historical scholarship to bear on issues of pressing public concern. “The Council removed some phrases that appeared to make ad hominem attacks,” AHA President Laurel Thatcher Ulrich observed. “The Council remains firmly committed to the spirit and intent of the resolution and adopted a resolution as close as possible to the text agreed to at the meeting.”
“The original language implied erroneously that the Association had already taken a position on Proposition 8,” AHA Executive Director Arnita Jones added. “Council was eager to move forward with plans for a 2010 annual meeting that would seize the opportunity to create a significant teaching moment.”
At its meeting on January 2, the Council established a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Task Force, which will gather information about the concerns of LGBTQ members and propose concrete practical solutions.
The working group described in the resolution has been formed by Council to move forward expeditiously to implement this resolution on the San Diego meeting. The group will include the association’s three vice presidents and representatives from the association’s Program Committee and the new LGBTQ task force.