Response to Members' Concerns

August 19, 2015

AWP deeply values hearing and responding to its members’ concerns. We have read a recent petition and would like to take a moment to address the issues it discusses.

1.) Regarding the suggestion that no disability-specific panels were accepted to the 2016 Conference & Bookfair in Los Angeles, the 2016 Subcommittee responsible for selecting the conference events accepted the Disability Caucus for inclusion on the schedule. This event is a panel, as all caucuses are, and is listed among the accepted events for the conference. For more information about the selection process, please see this Open Letter and our 2016 Event Proposal Handbook (page 8).

2.) On August 18, as we have done in previous years, we released statistics pertaining to the gender demographics of panelists for the 2016 conference. The numbers in that news item are in line with numbers we have made public for previous conferences, and are reflected in the 2016 accepted events as well as in the lists of accepted events available on our website that go back several years. Please note that AWP does not collect information other than a participant’s gender and professional role. There are ongoing discussions about collecting additional demographic information about panelists for the future, while still respecting the privacy of our members as well as legal concerns.

3.) AWP is committed to being more transparent with our members. We rely on our members' support, counsel, and concerns. We read and reply to inquiries sent by mail, email, social media, post-conference surveys, and other communication platforms. Although AWP doesn’t have the resources to hire public relations personnel, our small staff reviews any concerns expressed on our online platforms in a continual attempt to improve our services and better engage with our membership. Some of our actions and announcements must be approved by the Board of Trustees, so we appreciate your patience.

4.) We also want to reassure you that AWP has never sought to interfere with a writer's Facebook page or blog. AWP had no role in reporting Sandra Beasley’s recent blog post to Facebook and hopes that the block will be lifted.

We at AWP truly appreciate this discussion. Our members care about certain issues; this organization is our members; we rely on your feedback. Without you, where would we be? We consider it our privilege to continue listening to your concerns and finding new ways to improve.

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