The results of the consolidation vote (#NASPACPA) were shared yesterday afternoon. ACPA members voted overwhelmingly for consolidation. The majority of NASPA votes were for consolidation. Unfortunately, the required 2/3rd's majority wasn't met by NASPA voters. Inside Higher Ed reporter, Allie Grasgreen did a great job of summarizing the outcome.
To be perfectly honest, I am still processing the result of the consolidation vote. I wear numerous hats...I know, it's a student affairs thing. We wear hats, many of them. One of my hats is as a consultant, two associations provide twice the opportunity for me to do what I do: give featured talks at conferences. However, as a self-identified student affairs practitioner without a campus, I feel ill. I feel like we have let our differences (and poorly constructed anti-consolidation rhetoric) overcome our commonalities. And who will feel this outcome the most? While not directly, our students had the most to lose if we didn't come together to consolidate. I've written a lot about consolidation on previous posts. At the end of the day, two organizations equals a split community. Financially speaking, how many of us can afford to be a member of both groups? People keep telling me that both associations provide exceptional value to members. I know that to be true. However, how can anyone justify the cost of having memberships / institutional affiliations with two separate organizations? This decision will force many of us to choose...ACPA or NASPA.
Both organizations have come out of the gate with messaging that will most likely cause polarization. I don't see this as a fault of either group. ACPA and NASPA are competing organizations in the student affairs space. Yesterday, ACPA President Heidi Levine wrote on her blog that "ACPA proudly chose to unite our profession, and NASPA did not." Heidi's use of "proudly" did not go unnoticed. I think that she positioned her organization brilliantly. It was the equivalent of a public relations shot across the bow. The NASPA Board of Directors didn't waste any time either. Their email / web posting outlined various highlights for change and innovation. The NASPA Board stated that they "are committed to making NASPA an even stronger association to better serve [their] members." It will be interesting to see how both organizations evolve and thrive now that consolidation is not going to take place.
It should be noted that the leadership of both associations did an incredible job of getting us to this point. The executive staff, elected leaders, and volunteers of both organizations put in a mammoth amount of work on this process. They deserve our respect, our thanks, and ultimately, I hope they all take a well-earned vacation. This has been a marathon.
On Wednesday, I hosted a special voting results episode of Student Affairs Live. I want to give a very public shout-out to Jeff Jackson for coming on the show to provide analysis and commentary. Ardith Feroglia, my intern for #SAlive, did a heck of a job (as always) tweeting as @HigherEdLive. Seriously, if you need a social media community manager, contact Ardith when she's done with graduate school.
I think that Deb Schmidt-Rogers, Director of Residential Education at DePaul University, said it best when she tweeted: "We are all gonna wake up tomorrow and still make a difference for students."
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