injury and impostors.

How long has this been a part of registering for the ASA annual meetings?

I agree and acknowledge that I am undertaking participation in ASA events and activities as my own free and intentional act and I am fully aware that possible physical injury might occur to me as a result of my participation in these events. I give this acknowledgement [sic] freely and knowingly and that I am, as a result, able to participate in ASA events and I do hereby assume responsibility for my own well-being. I also agree not to allow any other individual to participate in my place.

If it’s been around a while, this is the first year I’ve noticed it.

It reminds me of an article I read not too long ago about an academic who died while attending his discipline’s annual conference. I remember thinking that as long as it happened in a hotel room (like in his case) and not in some randomly named ballroom, it might be a poetic way to pass for some who make their work their life.

Does anyone have stories of injuries sustained at previous ASA meetings (and we’re talking during the actual meetings, not related to heavy drinking at department parties)? More interestingly, has there ever been a case of identity theft, or (more accurately) the hiring of an impostor, at an annual meeting?

While I’m sure this is just a precaution in the ASA’s case, there’s got to be some history somewhere. What discipline’s meetings might have sparked this preemptive strike?

18 thoughts on “injury and impostors.”

  1. Whoa! I was most definitely not aware that physical injury might occur to me as a result of participating in anything at ASA. I mean, except for the Scatterplot vs. Orgtheory Wii Boxing battle royale I’m planning for next August.

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  2. i haven’t heard of any real impostor stories, but there are certainly a number of cases where i’ve witnessed people (mostly graduate students) picking up someone else’s discarded badge to go to the exhibitions, etc.

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  3. So, in checking off this liability box, one is saying they will not discard their badge in a place that allows someone else to pick it up and pretend it’s their own.

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  4. I’ve seen a few well-known folks walk around with the badges of lesser-known people. I suspect they do this partly as a joke and partly to get some downtime. (I also know that this doesn’t mean they haven’t purchased their own badges, they just take those off on occasion.)

    Related, what I found new recently (perhaps this past year, and perhaps not with ASA but another one of those big conferences I attend, say for communication, but they all use AllAcademic anyway) is that by uploading your paper for consideration, you agree to have it circulated, kept for archiving, etc. Ingrid wrote about a related issue over on Crooked Timber back in the Spring. I think it’s pretty annoying that you’re given no choice in the matter about archiving (and sale, which is the issue Ingrid takes issue with) given that these tend to be draft papers.

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  5. I have heard rumors of people trying to sabotage graduate students on the job market. Either other grad students doing this or bitter exes/people who just hate them. But I have no solid evidence that it’s actually happened. And I seriously doubt the rumors. But who knows, maybe it did happen and so ASA put up this policy. Or maybe they heard the same rumors I did, and decided to create it. This reminds me I need to register.

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  6. Um, also, now that I’ve registered for ASA (both the organization and the conference in August) I’m SHOCKED at how much it costs. I didn’t know. As a grad student it’s cheap. Now: not so much. Excuse the question from my privileged place in academia: but does everyone get cushy discretionary funds? If not, I think that the membership should not just be relative to how much you make, but also if your institution is willing to pay your dues (as mine is). I mean, it doesn’t really cost me anything (yes yes, I could spend the money elsewhere). But if actually cost me around $400, I would seriously think, “should I really join”? But then again, I’m the one who has questioned the role of the organization…

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  7. No, not everyone has cushy discretionary funds. This is certainly something to keep in mind in negotiations or in trying to determine which job offer is most appealing.

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  8. Unrelated: I don’t like wearing my badge at the meetings. This is mostly because it makes me feel even more like a dorky tourist, but I also have an aversion to name tags in general. I hate it when people can see my name on my body.

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  9. I don’t know if this is in the spirit of the conversation you’re having, but do you think this is something to just chalk up as ‘things ASA wants to believe they can make me agree to, but that they actually can not?’ I mean, that they assert our signing away of liability doesn’t necessarily mean much, does it?

    I got to thinking about statements like this when a lawyer friend of mine told me that no small amount of stuff in my lease was just B.S., that landlords routinely try to assert more rights than they actually have. If I got injured as a direct result of my participation, I do wonder if this statement could actually be used against me. I mean it’s not like at a baseball game when you expect that you could get hit with a ball or something..

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  10. Hmm. Never heard of any injuries. Some people do get other people to deliver papers for them at conferences because they want the line on the cv (at schools where conferences “count”) and they want to get the line without paying the price of the trip. That’s the first thing I thought of re someone else participating in my place. This is generally seen as an unethical no-no (not the same thing as getting hit by a car or otherwise unavoidably prevented from traveling).

    I like name badges. I realize it is uncool to like them. I have trouble with names and faces and I think a major source of rudeness to other people occurs when you ought to know their names but you can’t remember, so you avoid them.

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  11. This is just fake lawyering. the kind of things that a board of directors insists be in there as part of their D&O liability policies. It is totally meaningless though i want in on the Wii smackdown.

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  12. Peter:
    I think you’re right on here. A restaurant can’t post a sign outside the door saying they aren’t liable for injury that you incur from dining inside and proceed to leave spills all over the floor in front of the buffet line. I would think the ASA’s statement would only apply to foreseeable injury risks–such as getting hit by a baseball at a baseball game. However, I can’t think of any foreseeable risks at ASA…

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  13. I can only imagine the havoc that Tina could wreak at ASA with four cosmos and a Bleacher Reacher Mega. She’s not getting anywhere near my Wii with that thing. (Unless, I guess, she’s cleverly disguised herself using someone else’s nametag.)

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  14. I also don’t like the copyright stuff for ASA journals. They tend to be really restrictive, especially given that ASA is not a for-profit organization, and sociologists should be concerned about diffusing their knowledge to less privileged universities and countries that can’t afford to subscribe to all the electronic stuff.

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