Another Hotel Controversy for a Scholarly Association

January 18, 2010

The Middle East Studies Association has become the latest scholarly organization to face criticism for plans to hold a meeting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, in San Diego, which is the subject of a boycott by some gay rights and labor groups, angry over the owner's large contributions to the fight against gay marriage. The association issued a statement indicating that it was not moving its meeting. The board said that it surveyed members, received a large number of answers and found the following: "Of those who did respond, fully 71 percent indicated that they would attend the meeting at the hotel. Many respondents also expressed the opinion that MESA should adhere to its mission of fostering the study of the Middle East and that the Board of Directors should exercise due financial responsibility with regard to the association’s finances. Many respondents also suggested that, in any case, it would be impossible for the Association to reflect the diverse views of its entire membership with regard to a whole host of political and social issues." The American Historical Association met at the hotel this month, leading to a rally against using the facility.

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