AAS & AGU Issue Joint Letter to Governor of Indiana
C. Urry Yale University
The AAS Solar Physics Division and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Space Physics & Aeronomy section are holding a joint scientific conference from 26 to 30 April 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. In response to Indiana Governor Mike Pence's signing of the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" in late March, AGU President Margaret Leinen and I sent a letter to Governor Pence on 1 April to reaffirm our core principles of inclusion and our commitment to welcoming every meeting attendee. Given that this potentially discriminatory law was enacted just one month prior to our joint meeting, we came to the conclusion that we could not cancel the meeting without severe impacts on its scientific goals.
On behalf of the AAS Council, I can commit to you that the AAS will not negotiate new meeting contracts with sites located in states and/or localities with laws already on the books that permit discrimination against any AAS member. I also intend to lead a larger effort among scientific societies to issue a statement that expresses our collective, unequivocal opposition to such discriminatory laws; pledges to avoid — whenever possible — doing business in states/localities with such laws; and strongly supports members of our community who reside, work, or visit states and/or localities with discriminatory laws on the books.