By Ryan Gunterman
IHSPA Executive Director
Dear IHSPA family,
I am saddened to announce the cancelation of the 2020 First Amendment Symposium.
Due to discussions with invested parties and recent developments concerning the spread of the coronavirus, I feel it is unwise to go ahead with the event scheduled for tomorrow. I can provide a long list of reasons as to why such a decision was made, but the all-encompassing motive for not holding the symposium is doing what’s best for Indiana journalism students and educators. It dictates everything IHSPA does, even if it means canceling one of the organization’s signature events.
While this decision has the approval of the executive board president, I am the one who championed calling off the event. Please direct any displeasure toward me. I know the probability of symposium attendees contracting the virus is remarkably low. I also realize I am being overly cautious, maybe unreasonably so. However, I am willing to pay the understandable price of negative emails and angry phone calls because I just wouldn’t be able to handle it if even one person became ill and I could have prevented it.
Therefore, IHSPA will do the following for those who planned to be at the Indiana Statehouse March 10:
-Contest results will be shared at IHSPA.net within the next 48 hours.
-All awards and prizes will be hand delivered to each school at a convenient time for those involved so that recipients can be celebrated in front of their peers. Those schools and students will also be honored during the fall convention.
-Prepared speeches by the IHSPA Student Board members will be shared as columns on the organization’s website.
-Indy Star investigative reporter Tim Evans has been invited to serve as a featured speaker during the fall convention.
-Those schools facing financial loss due to this cancelation are invited to reply to this email and discuss reasonable options to lessen the impact. While it may not be possible to recoup any or all funds, IHSPA would at least appreciate the opportunity to help soften the consequences of this emergency decision.
Those who know me are well aware of the amount of thought I have given this and the accompanying stress and sleepless nights. However, working with every single one of you is why I love this job, and it’s why I have made such a difficult decision.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions and/or concerns: firstname.lastname@example.org