LINGUIST List 4.46

Fri 29 Jan 1993

Disc: Colorado and Cognitive Science Conference

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  1. Paul Smolensky, Colorado Boycott & Cognitive Science Conference

Message 1: Colorado Boycott & Cognitive Science Conference

Date: Sun, 24 Jan 1993 22:45:49 Colorado Boycott & Cognitive Science Conference
From: Paul Smolensky <>
Subject: Colorado Boycott & Cognitive Science Conference

The Governing Board of the Cognitive Science Society is aware of the
recent approval by the voters of Colorado of an amendment to
their Constitution that bans antidiscriminatory legal activity to
protect the rights of gays and lesbians (the amendment has been barred
from implementation pending judicial review). This action has prompted
calls for a boycott of the state. Since the Annual Meeting of the
Society is scheduled for June 18-21 in Boulder, we feel obliged to make
it clear that our action in no way implies an endorsement of the
amendment nor disapproval of means being taken to oppose it. We are a
small society with no professional convention staff. A
last-minute change would produce great expense for members, who often
pay their own way. Further, the logistics of conferences make
it impossible to make a change now without causing considerable pain to
hundreds of people who were not a party to the vote in

Here are additional reasons for our decision to continue with the meeting.

* Boulder is one of the cities whose gay rights ordinance is
threatened, and the City of Boulder was the primary party in the
injunction suit (and thus in preventing immediate implementation).

* The University of Colorado where the conference will be held has
a policy of non-discrimination (including sexual preference)
towards employees. (It could be strengthened, many believe)

* Unlike most annual meetings this one is run entirely by the local
committee, so that moving the meeting really means starting
over from scratch.

* A number of gay-rights organizations in Colorado are now OPPOSING
the Boycott.

Personally, the members of the Governing Board oppose the Colorado
amendment. There is a strong precedent to avoid involving the
Society in political issues, and our action in making this statement is
primarily to avoid any suggestion that by not changing the meeting,
we are opposing the boycott or endorsing the amendment. Obviously,
setting any further meetings in Colorado after this June would
itself be a political action in the current context, and thus is
unlikely. Further, members are free to offer resolutions at the general
membership meeting held during the conference (within the limits of our
by-laws and corporate charter).

Individual members, of course, may wish to take stronger steps. For
example, they may wish to donate to one or more groups specifically
opposing the amendment.

Approved by electronic mail poll of the Governing Board.

Alan Lesgold, Secretary/Treasurer
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