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2016 National Conference in Indianapolis

Womxn in Student Affairs
April 15, 2015

Many of you may have read the statement on Friday from NASPA president Kevin Kruger regarding the NASPA Board’s decision to honor the contract with Indianapolis for the 2016 annual conference.  NASPA leadership have been vocal in expressing their significant concern and discomfort with the recent passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) legislation in Indiana and have been considering the appropriate way to handle this. Recently, following input from NASPA and many other organizations, Indiana passed an additional amendment to this legislation and Indianapolis adopted a city ordinance, both prohibiting discrimination, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Last week, the Knowledge Community chairs were involved in a conference call to elicit feedback about the direction the Board should take. All of us agree that in light of recent discussions, this is a conversation that should continue in many more venues with many more voices.

As your WISA co-chairs, we have grappled with the issues regarding staying or leaving Indianapolis for the 2016 Annual Conference. First and foremost, we are challenged by how we can best support those marginalized by legislation and policy both in Indy and beyond. How can we amplify and advocate for the voices being ignored? What action makes the strongest statement by NASPA and by our KC? We want to hear from you on how we can educate our constituency and the broader higher education community in the coming year and beyond about those underserved and ignored by policies on our campuses, in our states, and on an international level.

This is not the first time that our organization has been met with such a challenge, and given existing and pending legislation, including other RFRA bills, in many states, we anticipate this will not be the last time we find ourselves at this doorstep. We look to you for ideas, concerns, suggestions, including honest and thoughtful debate, as we move forward. Please comment here or email Kathy Rose-Mockry ([email protected]) or Niki Rudolph ([email protected]) with your thoughts.

Thank you for taking up the challenge with us.