In November of last year, the SBL decided to implement some changes to limit student participation at the annual meetings. Those changes included requiring students (or persons without a Ph.D.) to submit the full text of their papers at the time of submission, as well as limiting their appearances at the annual meetings to one (as opposed to two for all other members). You can view the statement here.
The decisions were met with quite a bit of resistance from student members, and after a couple of months of dialogue, it was announced today that the SBL Council will postpone these policies until further discussion can take place at the Spring 2011 Council meeting.
The e-mail I received, if you’re interested, is posted below:
Dear Student Member:
The Executive Committee of Council met on 12 January 2011 to discuss concerns over the recent policies regarding student participation in the Society’s Annual Meeting. The policies that were announced in November 2010 required all students without a doctoral degree to submit to the Program Unit Chair the full text of the paper they intended to read and limited the number of sessions student can participate in (as panelist, presenter, and respondent) to one.
The action taken by the Executive Committee of Council, effective immediately , is to postpone the implementation of these policies and to undertake additional discussion of these matters at the Spring 2011 Council meeting. This action thereby sets aside these requirements and restrictions until 2012, pending further review.
I want personally to thank the members of the Student Advisory Board and the network of OSRs for the conversations we have had concerning these matters. They are active advocates for student interests. Please do continue these conversations with me or with representatives on SAB. SAB will provide a report directly to Council in April.
On behalf of Council, we look forward to receiving your suggestions and proposals for discussion and review, and we are especially grateful for your active participation.
John F. Kutsko
Society of Biblical Literature
Its not quite a victory yet, but it’s something!