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CCCC Convention Siting and Hostile Legislation: Guiding Principles

The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Executive Committee votes on the future site for each annual convention five or six years before the convention takes place. This is necessary to secure convention meeting space and sufficient hotel rooms to accommodate several thousand attendees. Before the Executive Committee votes on a future site, CCCC members are polled about possible sites. NCTE staff investigate (through research and site visits) several feasible cities, based on the results of this poll, location of recent conventions, geographic parity, opportunities for attractive costs, and other factors. Several options are then presented in a report to the Executive Committee that includes information about hotel costs, Internet access, travel options, meeting space, and tourism. 

In discussing siting options, the Executive Committee takes into consideration not only these detailed reports but also factors that could be objectionable to participants, including legislation that is hostile to various groups or in opposition to the values of the organization. After thorough discussion and consideration, the Executive Committee votes on a future site. Following this vote, CCCC enters into contractual agreements with the convention center, hotels, and other entities. These agreements carry heavy penalties for withdrawal, usually amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost financial resources. The closer the proposal of withdrawal is to the convention date, the more complicated and expensive it becomes to move the convention to another city.

Because siting is done far in advance of each convention, it is not possible to predict future state or local legislation that could be objectionable to attendees. As a result, calls may be made to break the contractual arrangements and move the convention. Withdrawing from a location is advocated as a form of protest that harms the state’s economy and expresses the collective voice of thousands of CCCC members through the decision of their elected Executive Committee members.

At the same time, withdrawing from a future site (1) can negatively affect hundreds of service workers who rely on conventions for their livelihood; (2) may have little impact on the state if another organization takes the space vacated by the CCCC; and (3) results, through the organization’s absence, in silence on the issues of concern. This silence is particularly problematic for an organization devoted in part to the study and pedagogy of communication as a form of civic engagement and deliberation about issues involving fairness and the humane treatment of all groups of people.

For these reasons, the CCCC Executive Committee has approved the following guiding principles for future convention siting with respect to hostile legislation:

In principle, CCCC will work to change state or local policies in host convention cities that diverge from established CCCC positions or otherwise threaten the safety or well-being of our membership. We will do so by consulting closely with local groups who share our principles and arranging activities and opportunities for members to support those who are disadvantaged by offensive policies or otherwise to use their presence in the offending state as a vehicle for nonviolent protest. We will vigorously communicate the methods of support and/or protest to the media, convention and tourist bureaus, and local and state government officials, with the avowed purpose of provoking policy change or supporting current policies threatened by hostile change. In general, we will follow this strategy of engagement rather than abrogating or cancelling contracts for future conventions as a method of protesting existing or future legislation.

November 2013

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