The North American Society for Bat Research promotes the study and conservation of bats by facilitating communication and collaboration among scientists, educators, and the general public. The society holds an annual meeting called the North American Symposium on Bat Research, usually in October. Although most attendees reside in North America, the society welcomes participants from all areas of the globe.
NASBR Opposes the New Modifications to The Student and Exchange Visitor Program
The North American Society for Bat Research (NASBR) is strongly opposed to the modifications to The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP; https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/sevp-modifies-temporary-exemptions-nonimmigrant-students-taking-online-courses-during). The modifications do not allow nonimmigrant student visa holders to remain in the United States for the Fall 2020 semester if their course load is fully online. Forcing visa holders to leave the United States is likely to set back many international students currently residing in the USA by delaying their degrees, research, grants, publications, and more. The modifications to the program will negatively impact hundreds of thousands of international undergraduate and graduate students, with broader effects on research labs and scientists at all career stages.
Many universities and institutions have already committed to a hybrid or fully-online format for the Fall 2020 semester, which now places many international students into an impracticable, prohibitively expensive, and/or dangerous situation. The actions taken by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), mere weeks before the Fall 2020 semesters begin, would dictate that many students would be forced to leave the United States, despite the high level of risk presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NASBR represents an increasingly diverse community, including many international students. We stand with our students and encourage our members to work toward whatever options are available to protect our membership and our international representatives. Those members wishing to voice their opinion should call their congressional representatives and their respective institutions.
NASBR Meeting Postponed
This has been a tumultuous year and we are only half-way through it. The disruptions from COVID-19 to society and all our lives have been immense and NASBR is no exception. As you have probably heard from other scientific societies, many annual meetings have been cancelled, postponed, or converted to online or hybrid format.
The NASBR Board has discussed the various options and decided to postpone our annual symposium in Tempe, Arizona from 2020 to 2021 to ensure the safety of all concerned. The dates for our next meeting in Tempe are October 20-23, 2021. As you may recall, 2021 was scheduled to be in Winnipeg, Manitoba and we are finalizing the details with the hotel to postpone this meeting until 2023. The joint IBRC/NASBR meeting in Austin, Texas remains set for 2022.
The Board considered the possibility of having an online meeting this year, but decided against this option because many of us already spend a lot of time online for work and for family. Adding a few days of intense online meetings did not seem like the best solution for our society. However, the Board is working with the Program Directors to examine the feasibility of online webinars and workshops on various topics of interest to our membership throughout the year. We will send out a separate notice on this in the near future and also other updates as they arise.
We are extremely thankful to our Tempe local hosts (Angie McIntire and Marianne Moore) for agreeing to extend their planning for another year, our Winnipeg local host (Craig Willis) for accommodating us in 2023, and the staff at the hotels in Tempe and Winnipeg for understanding our situation and helping us to find a solution under these unusual circumstances.
NASBR Board Chair
Invitation to Host the 2024 NASBR Meeting:
The North American Society for Bat Research invites bids for hosting the 2024 annual meeting of the society. Intention to bid should be by email to the Program Directors, who will provide detailed advice on bid preparation. Final bids must be submitted by July 1, 2021 to the Chair of the NASBR Board of Directors. Additional information can be found on this website under the Host a Meeting tab. The NASBR Board of Directors will evaluate bids and successful bids meeting the basic criteria of the society will be placed before the members of the society at the NASBR business meeting for a vote of member preference.