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SDS Updates

August 4, 2016
Election Results

Dear Colleagues,
It gives me great pleasure to inform you that after a lively election period we have five winning candidates for the Board of Directors of the Society for Disability Studies: Brenda Brueggemann, Carol Goldin, Karen Nakamura, Anita Ghai, and Kate Caldwell.'
The returning Board and I ask you all to help us welcome the 5 winners and to thank all of those who volunteered. We are so pleased and honored that 17 solid people were interested. We are already recruiting those who didn't win to join SDS committees. Their willingness to serve will not go unnoticed.
The new Board members’ term starts at the close of our Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday, August 23, 4:30pm EST, and continues for three years.
Help me say "Welcome Aboard!"
Devva Kasnitz, PhD, Interim Executive Director


July 27, 2016
Important Announcements of SDS Debt Settlement, Annual Membership Meeting, Tues. Aug. 23, 4:30-6:30 pm

Est Settlement reached with Phoenix Hyatt
The SDS Board of Directors would like to let you all know that we have been successful in our settlement negotiations with the two Hyatt hotels to whom we owed significant amounts of money--the Atlanta Hyatt (for the 2015 conference) and the Phoenix Hyatt (for the cancelled 2016 conference and contracted pre-conference charges). Both hotels have now accepted and received our settlement offers and payments.

This is excellent news, beyond a doubt. And while this also means that negotiating a conference contract with any major hotel (or university as well) would likely be difficult for the next couple of years, we are ready to REBUILD now as an organization. And we need YOU--all of you, each and every one of you-- to help us do that.

Sincerely yours,
The Board of Directors of SDS:
Funmi Akinpelu
Juliann Anesi
Brenda Brueggemann, Chair
Mel Y. Chen
Ibby Grace
Helen Meekosha, Vice-Chair
Mallory Kay Nelson
Sami Schalk,Secretary
Phil Smith, Treasurer
Joanne Woiak
Frank Wyman


June 6, 2016
A Message from the Board of Directors

Dear SDS Members and More,

We write with important UPDATES about our organization, the Society for Disability Studies!

SDS organizational and Board documentation has now been organized in one place--and open to all--on the SDS Website. This includes the minutes of Board meetings this year, minutes (that were available) from previous years, and the 2014 and 2015 tax returns. Under the burgundy ABOUT tab (last one to the right):

On May 25, 2016, the Board hosted a Town Hall Meeting that had 121 participants signed up. The meeting platform was hosted by The Ohio State University’s ADA Coordinator (Scott Lissner) and his annual Multiple Perspectives on Access, Inclusion and Disability conference. The NOTES from that meeting are open to all. Click here to view and/or download the notes.

SDS is chartered in Oregon and under jurisdiction of all Oregon statutes for nonprofit organizations. In May 2016, we officially joined the NAO. Notes about the importance of this membership are included on the Town Hall Meeting notes.''

The call for applications/nominations for new SDS Board members will be coming out very soon; four (4) positions are open. Please consider your skills and commitment to the organization and the field overall --and that of others who might join in leadership--when you read this call.

This is very good news! As reported by SDS Board Treasurer, Phil Smith, at the Town Hall Meeting (please see the meeting notes for more details): We learned during the week of May 16 that the Atlanta Hyatt (or 2015 conference hotel) has accepted our settlement offer of $8,500 now and another $1,500 within one year. We will be paying this first ($8,500) portion immediately and work to pay the rest as soon as we can. We have not yet heard from the Phoenix Hyatt (our cancelled conference hotel for 2016) in terms of the settlement also offered to them. We assume they are waiting to see what Atlanta does first; this is a process. Please consult the Town Hall Meeting notes for more information regarding SDS’s financial status.

Again, more good news! At its May 16th Board meeting, the Board appointed Devva Kasnitz as our Interim Executive Director for an initial six-month period, June 30-December 30, 2016. Devva has already begun to work with Maki Tanigaki--who has held together the SDS Executive Office, as Executive Assistant, at University at Buffalo--on transition out of the UB offices. Many of you already know Devva as past President of the organization (and Chair of the Board)--two times now--and as an initial founding member of the organization. We believe she will anchor us well as we also begin the process of appointing a more long-term Executive Officer.

Following on the success of the virtual meeting platform used for the Town Hall Meeting, plans are underway to host an annual membership meeting for SDS in late August. An extended Board meeting would also take place at that time; new Board of Directors members would begin their terms then. Stay tuned for summer announcements about this meeting.

Sincerely yours,
The Board of Directors of SDS:
Funmi Akinpelu
Juliann Anesi
Brenda Brueggemann, Chair
Mel Y. Chen
Ibby Grace
Helen Meekosha, Vice-Chair
Mallory Kay Nelson
Sami Schalk, Secretary
Phil Smith, Treasurer
Joanne Woiak
Frank Wyman


February 22, 2016,
To the Society for Disability Studies (SDS) Membership (and our allies everywhere):

It is with great regret, and an earnest sense of responsibility, that we, the Board of Directors of SDS, write to inform you that on Friday, February 19th, we took the difficult step of voting overwhelmingly (ten positive votes and one abstention) to cancel the 2016 SDS conference in Phoenix due to an ongoing and now extreme budgetary crisis.

We took this step based on the council of experts in the nonprofit world, and we will be working with these partners to try to ensure a viable future for the organization. Like you, we consider SDS to be a vital resource for disability studies in the U.S. and around the world.

We have no intention of dissolving the organization. We will keep you apprised of restructuring efforts and, in fact, are counting on your input and support. Regular updates will be forthcoming.

We are also actively investigating ways of creating a very low-cost virtual conference this year so that we can still come together online. At the very least we will be holding an online/virtual Annual Membership Meeting (stay tuned for details). Please contact us if you are interested and/or knowledgeable in this area.Sincerely yours,
The Board of Directors of SDS:
Funmi Akinpelu
Juliann Anesi
Brenda Brueggemann, Chair
Mel Y. Chen
Ibby Grace
Helen Meekosha, Vice-Chair
Mallory Kay Nelson
Sami Schalk, Secretary
Phil Smith, Treasurer
Joanne Woiak
Frank Wyman