An update from your ECA President regarding ECA 2020
Once again, I am reaching out to you with a heavy heart. We have heard from many members inquiring about whether our beloved convention will take place this year. These messages have steadily increased in number since yesterday. During the past 24 hours, the Executive Board has met several times about COVID-19 to determine the best approach for our association and membership. While we initially believed that we could carry on, it has become apparent that we must cancel the 111th Eastern Communication Association (ECA) convention, Harboring Innovation, in Baltimore, Maryland, Wednesday, April 1 – Sunday, April 5, 2020.
Before addressing the rationale for this decision, I want to extend my deepest appreciation and compassion to our Primary Planner and ECA First Vice President, Jennifer Waldeck. As you know, she planned an innovative conference with programming to educate ourselves not only on current research, but with opportunities to learn how to conduct rigorous research. Her innovative planning also included changing our approach to our business meeting and the announcement of awards and recognitions.
The passion, dedication, and action Jennifer showed in the year leading up to her conference provides a blueprint for future planners on how to plan and how to conference differently from the status quo. I am devastated that we will not reap the benefits of Jennifer’s conference planning prowess during the expected timeframe of 04/01/2020 - 04/05/2020. However, the Executive Board is working to implement a plan to honor our election of Jennifer to plan a conference for us. Working out the details of this plan may require a few weeks’ work, but we will make every effort to announce the specifics of our next steps as soon as possible. Thank you, Jennifer, for your hard work. We will not let you down in finding a way to allow your hard work to pay off.
In making the decision to cancel ECA 2020, the Executive Board considered the following:
- The voices of our members
- Guidance from public health agencies
- University policies, closures, and travel restrictions/bans affecting financial support for our members’ conference participation
- Contractual Obligations
Many conference-goers have inquired about receiving refunds of their registration and event fees. We ask for your patience and understanding as we establish an appropriate strategy for working through the financial logistics. It is important to us that we work both efficiently and effectively to address your concerns, but our priority, today, is to update our membership regarding the planned conference. For those who have not done so already, please cancel your hotel reservations.
Please reach out to ECA President Katherine S. Thweatt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216-246-0441 with questions.
Again, I am deeply sorry that we had to make this decision and I will miss seeing all of you in early April. Please look in the coming days and weeks for additional information about refunds and other important decisions that must be made in the wake of these extraordinary circumstances.
Katherine S. Thweatt, EdD
Cheryl Casey, PhD
ECA Executive Director