My colleagues at McGill University in Canada sent the following note to the American Association of Geographers (AAG) Conference (I was a coauthor on one of the papers). America is now officially less welcoming than after 9/11. Congratulations America, Achievement Unlocked. You have reduced the amount knowledge in the world, punished people from foreign countries because of their ancestry, as well as helped harm the US economy by reducing income at hotels, restaurants, and airlines.
Dear AAG Annual Meeting Organizers,
I regret to inform you that our team, Transportation Research at McGill (TRAM) will not be present at the coming AAG annual meeting in Boston and we will would like to withdraw all of our papers from the program. This is a decision we have not made lightly but upon thoughtful reflection, we have made this decision based on the following reasons: We at TRAM have an obligation to safeguard our students and it is part of our duty of care to ensure that all of our students and staff are protected as far as possible from the kinds of distress and potential harm that we have seen impacting students of given nationalities as they have attempted to enter or re-enter the US in the past week. We recognize that this situation was implemented at short notice and outwith the control of AAG and appreciate the efforts that you at AAG have made to keep conference participants informed of upcoming developments and mitigate any negative circumstances as far as possible. However, at this stage in conference preparations, we need to reach a decision based on the information we have available and we are not satisfied that the circumstances surrounding this travel ban will be resolved in the short term. We at TRAM feel that conference attendance is a vital component of graduate life and feel strongly that this opportunity should be available to all of our students, regardless of their nationality or religious background. We have thus sent students to AAG in the past based on this principle. Until we feel that our students may again participate at conferences in the US without discrimination, risk of harm and distress, we can not proceed to send them.
The following is the list of papers we are withdrawing. As it was the students that registered and given that this has fallen entirely outwith their control, I am additionally requesting a refund of their registration fees.
Title: Capturing the value of time: Assessing the impacts of access to public transport on home values
Title: Riding safely to school: An analysis of the supply of bicycle lanes and cycle tracks around schools in Quebec City
Title: Access to desired destinations: An evaluation of the land use and transportation systems performance for different income groups using a combined measure of accessibility