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ASEH 2020

March 25-29, 2020

Delta Ottawa City Centre

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Message from ASEH Past Presidents about 

ASEH 2020 Cancellation

Dear ASEH Community,

On behalf of ASEH, we write as past presidents of the society to ask for your help.

We ask that you stand behind and fully support the ASEH Executive Committee’s decision to cancel this year’s meeting in Ottawa.  Everything we know from the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa tells us that social distancing, banning of large public gatherings, voluntary self-quarantining when sick, and minimizing or eliminating travel have been the most effective strategies to slow a pathogen’s spread.  We all need to do our part in protecting the public’s health and, particularly, the most vulnerable members in the population.  

This decision was not taken lightly and has significant economic repercussions.  Our liability insurance does not cover cancellation costs due to communicable disease.  It requires a special rider, which few, if any professional societies, ever purchase.  As a consequence, ASEH could face as much as $250,000 in cancellation fees.  This will have serious implications for the society’s financial future and our ability to support graduate students and lower income scholars.

Here are a few suggestions of what you can do to help:

  1. ASEH has collected approximately $86,000 in registration and sponsorship and exhibit fees.  While ASEH will honor full refund requests, we ask that you forego refund requests for registration fees if you can afford to do so.  We are not asking this of members if it creates a financial hardship.  But if you can absorb this cost, we would be grateful.
  2. If you are an author whose book would have been on display, please ask your press to consider donating, either partially or fully, their exhibition fees paid to ASEH rather than requesting a refund.
  3. Please consider making a donation to ASEH.  We are calling upon all ASEH members who are able to join us in making a generous contribution to the society. 
  4. Please be patient and understanding in corresponding with the ASEH Executive Office.  Our Executive Director David Spatz, President Ed Russell, and Vice President Sarah Elkind have been working hard behind the scenes in negotiating with the conference hotel, answering requests and concerns, and doing all they can to minimize the impact on the society.  This is an unprecedented situation, and we ask that you be respectful and caring in your communication with the ASEH Executive Office and leadership.  They alone should not shoulder this burden.  We are all in this together.

    Thank you for your attention, understanding, and support.   


    Kathleen Brosnan

    William Cronon

    Susan Flader

    Nancy Langston

    Martin Melosi

    Carolyn Merchant

    Gregg Mitman

    John McNeill

    Harriet Ritvo

    Jeffrey Stine

    Douglas Weiner

    Donald Worster

    © ASEH 2019 Copyrights Reserved

    American Society for Environmental History

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