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News & Press: Announcements

2020 In-Person Annual Meeting Cancelled; Plans to Move to a Virtual Conference

Friday, March 6, 2020  
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LSA 2020 In-Person Annual Meeting Cancelled 

LSA Plans to Move to a Virtual Conference

 Check out our FAQs at the bottom!

AMHERST, Mass. – We are very disappointed to report that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to cancel the in-person 2020 LSA Annual Meeting. This decision did not come lightly, but the LSA Board decided that cancellation is the only reasonable way to ensure that the event does not contribute to the spread of the virus. Sanctions on large gatherings in Denver would also have made the event impossible. The health and well-being of our attendees, members, staff, and citizens of Denver and beyond is of utmost importance to our association.
 
The good news is that the Program Committee Co-Chairs and the Executive Office are in the process of planning a virtual meeting. We are working to ensure that the meeting resembles the vibrant intellectual program that the Committee has worked hard to assemble for us, and we want you to be a part of it! 
 
If you have registered for the in-person Annual Meeting and you choose to join the virtual meeting, we will honor your registration and you will not need to register again. However, if you wish to request a refund of your registration fee and not participate in the virtual meeting, we will provide a full refund and your paper will be dropped from the program, but you must fill out the refund form by April 15th. The link to the cancellation form is below -- you will have to login to your LSA profile first to fill out a form.
 
Canceling the in-person meeting will have serious financial consequences for LSA, leading to a substantial budget shortfall. Your willingness to keep your registration and participate in the virtual meeting will help tremendously. For those who do not wish to participate in the virtual meeting, we hope you will consider converting all or part of your registration fee into a tax-deductible contribution to LSA to help mitigate the financial losses that we will sustain. You will have this option when filling out a cancellation form.
 
Moving Forward
 
1.     We will be in touch soon about the LSA’s First Ever Virtual Program. Keep a watch for the messages. We hope that many of you will stick it out with us virtually as this will provide a great opportunity to try something a little bit different this year.
 
2.     We are committed to run the Graduate Student and Early Career Workshop virtually and will send details soon. To that end, we invite the 50 selected participants to continue to save the regularly scheduled date of Tuesday, May 26, and be on the lookout for a follow up email from the workshop organizers. 
 
3.     We also plan to hold the Annual Awards ceremony as a virtual celebration, as part of the larger program.
 
We appreciate that you are all facing unprecedented challenges, and we hope that the cancellation of the LSA program will not exacerbate those challenges. We also hope that the alternative virtual program will allow us to continue to nurture our intellectual community, of which you are an important part. As more information becomes available, we will update you on the date(s) of our virtual conference, the structure and platform to be used, and other relevant details. We wish you all continued good health.
 
Thank you for your understanding.
 
Sincerely,
 
Penelope Andrews
President
 
Steven Boutcher
Executive Officer
 
Anna-Maria Marshall
Program Committee Co-Chair
 
Jonathan Klaaren
Program Committee Co-Chair

 

Cancellation Formhttps://lawandsociety.site-ym.com/general/custom.asp?page=LSA2020CancellationForm

 

FAQs

Can I automatically just convert my registration to the virtual meeting?
Yes. If you do not want to cancel your participation in the virtual program, you do not need to do anything. If you do not cancel your registration by April 15th, your presentation will be placed on the virtual program and no refunds will be given after this date.
 
Will I need to register again when the Annual Meeting ultimately takes place?
No. If you registered for the 2020 Annual Meeting, we will continue to honor your registration, and you will not need to register again.
 
What if I already cancelled but would now like to participate in a virtual conference?
If you cancelled your LSA 2020 registration and already received a refund, but would now like to participate in a virtual conference, you will need to contact the LSA Executive Office at lsa@lawandsociety.org.
  
What will the virtual conference look like?
The virtual meeting will have a one-stop-shop “digital home.” All sessions will be organized in a self-contained conference website. We are working on this digital home with a company that has assisted other Associations that have moved to a virtual format. Registered participants will be able to login using their LSA credentials and navigate through the various sessions and other events. As the conference rolls out, you will be able to watch sessions live on the conference site as they occur. Sessions will be recorded and made available only to registered participants for a period of time after the meeting. Participants can thus attend as many sessions as you would like on-demand. If you do not want your presentation recorded, there will be an option to opt-out from this option. We are working to hire dedicated support to assist participants with technical questions about the platform. 
 
What if I prefer to have a refund?
We have decided to provide a full refund to those who request it, rather than the 50 percent refund that would be available under our regular refund policy.
 
How do I request a refund?
Please fill out the LSA 2020 refund form no later than April 15th. You will be asked to login to your profile and complete the form here: https://lawandsociety.site-ym.com/page/LSA2020CancellationForm
 
Can I donate my registration fee to LSA to help offset the financial damages the Society will incur?
Yes. You can convert your registration (or even part of your registration) into a tax-deductible contribution to the LSA, where allowed by law. You can select to donate the refund form: https://lawandsociety.site-ym.com/page/LSA2020CancellationForm
 
Will the graduate and early career workshop be part of the virtual conference?
We are committed to holding the Graduate Student and Early Career Workshop virtually and will send details soon to those participants. We invite those accepted into the workshop to continue to save the regularly scheduled date of Tuesday, May 26. A separate email will go out with details.
 
Will there still be an awards ceremony?
We will still award prizes this year. We plan to hold an awards ceremony virtually as part of the larger program.
 
I booked a hotel room through the LSA room block in Denver. Can I get a refund?
We are working with the hotel on the cancellation and will ask them to cancel all room block reservations. To be safe, you can also contact the hotel directly to cancel your reservation.
 
Will I be able to reschedule or cancel my flight?
Some airlines are permitting cancellations without a penalty, but you will need to contact your carrier directly.
 
Which medium will we be using for sessions?
All sessions will be held on Zoom and/or GoToMeeting webinars and/or meetings which will be organized centrally. The conference portal – the digital home -- will contain all of the sessions for easy access and search capabilities, including composing your own panel attendance schedule. These platforms will allow presenters and attendees in sessions to interact via features such as live chat, polls and raising hands for Q&A sessions after the presentations.
 
What about time zone differences?
LSA is proud to already have a global membership and audience, representing over 60 countries across the world. We hope to look back on the 2020 virtual meeting as a truly global LSA meeting in a new sense. To fulfill this vision, we will do our best to accommodate individual participants, sessions, and our collaborative research networks (CRNs) by carefully considering requests for specific time zones. At this point, we are expecting around 80% of the sessions to take place live in the Mountain or Eastern time zones of the US and 20% to take place in other time zones. The final time blocks for the live sessions will be shaped by the sessions that remain on the program. The Office and Program Committee are committed to making the virtual meeting work for the largest number of participants as possible. At the same time, we also plan to work closely with CRNs and other groups to schedule their sessions that work for their participants on that session. Whatever the time blocks we ultimately decide, we recognize that it will not work for everyone to attend each session live, but that recorded sessions will be available to view on your own schedule.
 
What are the days and times of the meeting? And how long are the days?
As of now, our virtual meeting is still scheduled to take place around the same dates of the in-person Denver meeting, which was originally scheduled from May 28-31. We will likely stretch out the virtual meeting over additional sequential days in order to reduce the number of sessions running during any particular day. We recognize that all of our lives are upended and facing additional constraints during this time, and it would be difficult to attend sessions over a 10-hour day. Depending on the final number of sessions, our goal is to reduce the number of sessions scheduled in any particular day to reduce participant fatigue. LSA will have a better idea of how long each day will be after the April 15 cancellation deadline.
 
How do you plan to replicate the informal conversations and networking opportunities that take place outside sessions?
One of the best parts about attending the LSA Annual Meetings is connecting with one another in the hallways over coffee, sharing a meal, or a cocktail at the bar. Obviously, a virtual meeting cannot fully replace those casual, but important, interpersonal connections. However, the Program Committee is hard at work brainstorming alternative options, whether that is allowing extra time following a session to informally connect or creating breakout spaces where conference participants can connect over shared interests. Note also that business meetings of CRNs will also be held.
 
Will there still be exhibit halls?
LSA is working with exhibitors and our technical partners about whether we can create a virtual exhibit hall. More information will come as we learn more, including whether participants can schedule individual meetings with participating publishers.
 
Why am I still paying the full price for registration?
LSA is now covering substantive tech expenses to make this year's virtual conference as professional, engaging and valuable to its attendees as possible. Some of these new costs pertain to the design of an exclusive virtual conference website, extra tech support and software licenses to host all of the sessions, among other items, including the association's regular operating expenses, including staff time to organize the entire meeting.
 
What is LSA’s refund policy?
If you wish to request a refund of your registration fee and not participate in the virtual meeting, we will provide a full refund and your paper will be dropped from the program, but you must fill out the refund form by April 15th. The link to the cancel is here:
 
You will be required to login prior to accessing the form. For those who do not wish to participate in the virtual meeting, we hope you will consider converting all, or even part, of your registration fee into a donation to LSA’s General Fund to help mitigate the financial losses that we will sustain from cancelling the in-person meeting. You will have this option when filling out a cancellation form.
 
What if I already filled out a cancellation form?
If you have already filled out a cancellation form, but haven’t received your refund, we ask for your patience as our office processes the refunds. If you haven’t received your refund within two weeks, please contact the office at lsa@lawandsociety.org.
 
What if I can’t log into my LSA profile to fill out a cancellation form?
The username for your LSA profile is most likely your full email address on record. If you are having trouble logging into your profile, please select the “forgot password” link: https://lawandsociety.site-ym.com/general/email_pass.asp and follow the prompts to reset your password. If you don’t receive an email to reset your password right away, be sure to check your spam or junk folder, or try another email addresses that may be associated with your LSA account. If you are still having issues logging in, please contact the LSA Executive Office at lsa@lawandsociety.org.
 
What if I don’t have an LSA profile, but would like to fill out the cancellation form?
Please contact the LSA Executive Office at lsa@lawandsociety.org and we will work with you.  
 
 
Please contact our Executive Office (lsa@lawandsociety.org) if you have additional questions.

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