A member’s response
March 30, 2011 § 19 Comments
In response to the last post relating the ASA Executive Director’s response to member inquiries, TDS received the following comment. With permission of its author, it is reproduced in full here. Worth reading in full.
It appears you may have been influenced by some highly inaccurate recent blog postings on the web. The elected leadership of the association is preparing accurate information so that members will not be mislead by some bloggers who have misread the ASA tax forms [snip – cc]. NONE of these are true.).
So it would appear that membership dues are supporting a Ministry of Truth? Sigh…
Dear ASA executive personnel (who I am sure are now monitoring this blog), as an annual dues paying member, who pays dues out of his personal finances rather than a departmental budget, even in years when he does not plan to attend the annual meeting, I have to tell you I’m rather disappointed. I teach my students that it is always better to show someone why a particular argument works rather than simply telling them.
I became interested in Jimmy’s blog after reading the original Footnotes article “explaining” the proposed dues structure. As has been established by people more thoughtful than me, that article did not show what the new dues structure would accomplish. Rather it told us this structure would be more progressive and therefore would make the world a better place.
The response printed above by Jimmy further undermines my faith in the ASA’s leadership. I have yet to find a clear, unambiguous, statement that shows me, the dues paying member, what my dues are providing. The points raised in the various “misleading blog posts sprinkled across the web at least make an effort to show readers why we should be concerned.
I am pleased to see that this agitation has at least generated some activity from our association’s K-street headquarters. I’ve seen more activity in the ASAnews twitter feed in the last few days than I’ve seen in the last few months. But, y’all have a ways to go. For instance, yesterday’s tweet: “ASA Public Affairs Dept works to ensure members are prepared to communicate with the press and legislators..” with a link to a page heavy no telling, light on showing doesn’t really help the cause.
I’ll close with an observation. In my Department at second (or third… or fourth?) tier R1 institution nearly half of Sociology faculty are no longer active dues paying members of the ASA. When asked why they don’t join, they tell me that there is no reason to be members; if they are not planning on getting to the annual meeting, they see no benefit to our professional association. I interpret them to say “the ASA is not relevant to their careers.” If you wish to persuade them otherwise (as I would), I strongly encourage you to show your relevance.
Signed… an insignificant dues paying ASA member.
The Disgruntled Sociologist does not have much to add, other than to say that if it is accurate that upwards of half of faculty in “second-tier” departments see no benefit to joining the ASA, there is a problem. Professional sociologists deserve better.