Central in Chicago in Winter?

Here is confirmation of why I’ve been quite vocal in objecting, and recommending to others to boycott this year so that the powers-that-be learn not to do this again. I love going to Chicago–I even love some people there!–but holding an APA meeting there in February is … bizarre. Change the time of year or change the location!


Central in Chicago in Winter? — 13 Comments

  1. What’s not to like about Chicago in winter? It’s only 30 below today with the wind chill. It’s just like summer in Texas, Jon, except in reverse. On the other hand, I guess the APA doesn’t schedule meetings for Texas in July….

  2. Hi Brian, yes, 30 below is about as wicked as texas in summer! It’s probably worse if you’ve been living in texas, and you’ve not acclimated to such brutal temperatures! So, to be consistent I hereby declare my intention to boycott any APA meetings in hot southern regions in the summer. I say, APA central in February in any of the following: Austin, San Antonio, New Orleans, etc.

  3. Is the APA held outside or something? I thought they usually held those at hotels, which generally provide heat. Is the walk from your car/taxi/bus to the inside of the hotel really bad enough to justify a boycott? (Possibly I just lack the empathy of those from warm climates since I grew up in the Midwest.)

  4. I wonder how many folks would be willing to formally join an official boycott, if someone were to spearhead one…

  5. The boycott thing was kind of a joke, though I did refuse to be on the program this year because of the timing, and have made a big deal of this issue to everyone I’ve talked to, including people who have direct control over this decision. And to the first anon, it ain’t about where you grew up–I can guarantee I grew up in a colder place than you. You can raise a family on milk and potatoes, but that’s no reason to prefer restaurants that serve only that to really fine cuisine. And, to make the reasoning explicit, there are *lots* of better choices than Chicago in February.

  6. Someone on the APA committee that decides these things told me that the new date for the Central APA is due to the Palmer House: They approached the APA to let them know that they can make a lot more $$$ using their rooms for weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc, on the weekend (in early April, I think) when the APA usually has their convention. So the Palmer House said: the only time open when we’ll give your philosophers a reduced rate is in Feb.; take it or leave it.

    I gather that the relevant APA leadership decided that their best option would be to take the Palmer House offer. I don’t endorse that decision, and don’t know what the feasible options were.

    I would say personally that the main reason for disliking the new date is just the sketchiness of flying into and out of Chicago in mid-winter. I don’t particularly mind cold weather or even blizzards up to a point, but I would very much mind being stuck in Chicago with my family waiting for me to get back home due to closed airports.

  7. Yes, that is the story. And behind the decision is some reticence by the powers-that-be to hold the meeting in warmer areas, e.g., New Orleans, San Antonio, Austin, etc. Since I know the people in question pretty well, I know the source of the reticence, and while I agree about the many cultural things Chicago has to offer, I disagree with the judgment in question as to which disadvantages are most significant. So I protest. We’ll see if it has any effect in future years…

  8. The travel thing makes sense, I guess I didn’t think about that. And I am not saying Chicago in mid-winter is ideal, I’m just saying that it doesn’t seem to necessitate a boycott. Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer a warmer climate (such as New Orleans, San Antonio, etc. as you suggest), but nothing can be ideal for everyone. (I didn’t mean to come off harsh in my first post, I was just very tired.)

  9. Hi Jon,

    Has anyone talked about Atlanta or Miami as options? I can’t imagine any objection to Miami! And seeing how the APA needn’t be in the U.S., we should consider a place in Mexico as well… I’d be happy to organize a APA scuba venture in Cozumel. 🙂

  10. Hi Ted, the central probably wants to stay in the geographic region in question, so all of the places you mention wouldn’t count, I would think. But I’d love to see the eastern in Miami; or the pacific in Hawaii!

  11. Well, maybe “boycott” is too strong a word. Maybe just some sort of petition would be all that is called for. But some sort of public, even quantifiable expression of just how many folks’ preferences are such that going to Chicago in February is awfully low, especially by comparison to such options as (a) going to a different conference hotel in Chicago in April, or (b) going to somewhere warmer in February, or in April. Right now it seems that the set of folks whose preferences are otherwise are perhaps being over-weighted.

    That different people have different preferences in this regard is also a very good reason to move the meeting around from year to year!

  12. Yes, the long run of central meetings in Chicago is not good. There is not only the question of total attendance at meetings, but of access by those farther away and the geographic distribution of those able to attend. I expect there’s not much attention paid to these matters, however.

    A petition is a good idea, and I’d sign it. If this practice continues, it will be, to my mind, just another in a long list of inadequacies on the part of the apa. I’m not sure how long that list has to get for me to just give up on the organization and quit paying my dues, but some adjustments need to start happening.

  13. What, exactly, is the obsession with the Palmer House? It’s nice, of course, but Chicago must have other hotels capable of accomodating the APA and equally appealing.
    Beyond that, why must the Central meet in the same city every year? I don’t imagine many people think Atlanta’s cultural offerings compete with New York’s, but the Eastern still goes there. New Orleans and San Antone are wonderful places.
    Anyhow, I’ll sign a petition if one starts up!

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