An Update from SPR's President
Friday, June 5, 2020
Posted by: Ashley Haan
Dear fellow SPR member:
As you might have seen, recently SPR announced that we cannot hold our annual meeting this fall, due to limitations on large gatherings imposed by the government of British Columbia. You also should have seen that the SPR Officers and Board of Directors are looking into options for hosting some of the annual meeting content online this fall. It seems certain that we can at least host virtual poster presentations online, so please do get your poster abstracts submitted by the extended June 5 deadline.
Beyond considerations regarding our ability to host some scientific content online, cancellation of the in-person conference has important ramifications for SPR's governance, which the SPR Officers and Board have been discussing with our management company (The Rees Group). Of primary concern is what to do about the terms of elected positions (President and Board members) that were set to end at this year's annual meeting. In the 60-year history of SPR, we have never faced a situation where the normal transfer of governance cannot occur because the annual meeting cannot be held. Unfortunately, SPR's bylaws provide no guidance for what to do in a situation like this.
In the absence of guidance from our bylaws, we have been observing the decisions made by peer organizations similar in size and scope to SPR (e.g., Society for Research in Psychopathology [SRP]; Society of Experimental Social Psychology [SESP]), and have been debating the relative merits of various options. Based on these observations and discussions, the Board has made the following recommendations, all subject to a vote of the SPR membership:
(1) The terms for all elected positions (Officers and Board members) should be extended by one year.
(2) The start of official terms of the newly elected President-elect and Board of Directors members (two positions) should be delayed by one year, but in the interim the individuals just elected should be invited to join in their respective roles as non-voting members.
(3) Consequently, the next election for SPR Officers and Board Members should be delayed by one year, until spring 2022.
Both SRP and SESP are proceeding in this way.
Concerning point 2 above, as you all know we recently completed our annual election. Typically, the terms of newly elected officers and Board members would begin at the annual fall meeting, following the Saturday business luncheon. Given that the annual meeting will not be taking place this year, we have asked the individuals recently elected to join in their respective capacities this fall, as non-voting members, with their official terms to begin a year later, at the fall 2021 annual meeting. The individuals involved have all agreed that this solution makes sense and have agreed to this plan, pending the results of the vote. Assuming this delay takes effect, this also would mean we would not need another election until spring of 2022.
Finally, as you know, SPR confers a number of honors and awards each year. These awards will still be conferred this fall but will be celebrated during our next in-person meeting (presumably, 2021 in Prague).
At the end of this email is a button you can use to cast your vote on whether or not SPR should adopt the Board's recommendations concerning term extensions for current officers and Board members. Please take a few moments to cast your vote now. I urge you to reach out to me or other officers or members of the Board if you have any questions or concerns regarding this proposal.
In the coming days you will receive one more email from SPR, announcing the results of the recent election.
I sincerely hope that each of you and your families are well and that you will be able to enjoy some version of a summer break this year. The other Officers and the Board and I appreciate your understanding as we navigate these unprecedented waters in the history of our Society, and we welcome your input.
Click Here to Cast Your Vote!