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From CAUTG/APAUC President on Cancelling 2020 Conference

Dear members of the CAUTG, dear invited presenters and participants registered for the 2020 Annual Meeting of the CAUTG:

Following the announcement of the Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences that there will not be an in-person Congress in 2020, the CAUTG Executive/Board of Directors has decided to cancel the Annual Meeting of the CAUTG.

While we truly appreciate the enormous work and effort the Federation has put into converting Congress into a virtual event, and providing a platform that allows associations to “go virtual,” the CAUTG Board of Directors voted against this option. The reasons for our decision are manifold:

  • Currently, everybody is trying to cope with professional demands (e.g., online teaching, exams) and many are likely at their limits already, especially colleagues who are scrambling to put their teaching online and/or who are parenting or taking care of others (or both). Preparing a conference or a virtual conference presentation would add yet more work to everybody’s (over)load. Cancelling the conference instead gives everyone a break: a breather amidst all the additional demands arising as COVID-19 spreads across the country and world.
  • We do not have enough time, funds, capacity and people power to mount the conversion of our planned conference to a virtual format. A virtual CAUTG conference would have had to be set up differently from the outset; we don’t think three days of online paper presentations are realistic, feasible, or even desirable.
  • The conference theme Bridging Divides: Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism cannot adequately be addressed in a virtual conference format. It requires showing face, and showing up face-to-face. We would like to do justice to this theme and are currently working on ways to make it a core theme for our 2021 Annual Meeting in Edmonton, while at the same time doing justice to the 2021 theme Northern Relations (and its related topics of reconciliation, governance, social justice, climate change, reciprocity, and education).

As much as all of us regret that we will not be able to convene in London, Ontario this year, we feel that in the current situation, it is best to forgo our meeting altogether and see each other in good health next year at Congress 2021 in Edmonton. Aufgeschoben ist nicht aufgehoben!

We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to all the colleagues at Western University for all their work and time and flexibility – they have worked on planning Congress 2020 for years, and all their efforts are more or less vanishing in cyberspace now.

The CAUTG will hold an Annual Business Meeting (ABM) this year as usual (as required in our bylaws), likely to be held at the same time as scheduled in our conference program: June 1, 2020, 4-6 pm Eastern time. It will be a virtual ABM; we are currently working out the technical issues involved. Stay tuned for further information!

In the meantime, I wish everyone a healthy and safe spring.

Herzliche Grüße und Glückauf!

Barbara Schmenk, President
Canadian Association of University Teachers of German
L’Association des Professeurs d’Allemand des Universités Canadiennes

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