Greetings from the Chattanooga C4L17 Planning group!
We’ve been hard at work securing fiscal hosts and engaging in planning for next year’s conference. But, we feel the need to reach out to the community for input prior to proceeding any further.
Like a number of other states, Tennessee has recently considered, and in some cases passed, several pieces of discriminatory/concerning legislation. The members of the local planning committee are deeply dismayed by the actions of the Tennessee legislature and governor, including:
1) Senate Bill 1556/House Bill 1840 (Effective April 2016): Allows licensed counselors to refuse patient treatment based on the counselor’s religious views – specifically targets the LGBT+ community. As a result of this bill, the American Counseling Association has decided to cancel their upcoming conference in Nashville, and the City of Philadelphia has expanded their existing North Carolina travel ban to include Tennessee. We have heard that other states/municipalities are considering travel bans as well.
2) House Bill 2248 (Goes into effect on July 1, 2016): The Office of Diversity at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville has been completely defunded for the 2016-17 school year with those funds being diverted to minority engineering scholarships. Funding will return to the Office of Diversity for the 2017-18 school year provided that they “don’t go to promoting the use of gender neutral pronouns, promoting or inhibiting the celebration of religious holidays, or to fund or support Sex Week at UT.”
3) House Bill 1736 (Goes into effect on July 1, 2016): Full time employees at public universities who are also valid handgun carry permit holders may openly carry their weapons on campus, with limited exceptions.
4) House Bill 2414 (Pulled by sponsor in April 2016 to “study the issue further”): Would have required students at all public schools in Tennessee to use the bathroom that corresponds to their birth gender.
5) House Bill 615 (Passed by the legislature, vetoed by the governor): Would have made the Christian Bible the official state book of Tennessee.
Unfortunately, neither the local planning committee nor the potential fiscal host have any control over the actions of the Tennessee (or any other) state government. But, the fiscal host will experience a significant financial loss if our community refuses to attend a planned conference. Since we have no Code4Lib foundation to assume financial exposure, the losses would be incurred by a completely external organization who is supportive of, but not responsible to, the Code4Lib community.
Given the extensive repercussions felt by North Carolina in the wake of their enacting of discriminatory legislation, the local planning committee is polling the Code4Lib community. We need to know if the community is willing to attend a conference in Tennessee prior to finalizing the support of a fiscal host and signing contracts. Is there anything that the local planning committee can do to mitigate the effect of discriminatory legislation on conference attendance? If Code4Lib 2017 cannot be held in Tennessee (or any state that may reasonably be expected to pass/consider discriminatory legislation in the upcoming year) where will it be held? Or, will we simply not have a national Code4Lib in 2017?
Please provide your input via this Survey Monkey<https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9X5TGBV>. The survey will close at 5pm, EDT on Friday, May 27th. The local planning committee will share the results on the Code4Lib list in early June. Thank you so much for your contribution to this vital discussion!
Digital Development Librarian & Professor
UTC Library, Dept. 6456
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Email: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>