Frequently Asked Questions

Who is ACPA and what is our purpose?

The mission of the Association is transform higher education by creating and sharing influential scholarship, shaping critically reflective practice, and advocating for equitable and inclusive learning environments.

How far in advance does ACPA select Convention sites? What is the process and the criteria?

The International Office staff issues a specifications overview, similar to a RFP (Request for Proposals). The ACPA staff then conducts additional review and shares the top options with Governing Board for voting/decision.  This process has historically happened five – seven years ahead of the convention date. ACPA currently has convention locations booked through 2024.

When did ACPA contract to host the convention in Nashville?

The ACPA Governing Board approved the selection of Nashville as the 2020 convention site in September 2014. Contracts were signed with the Music City Center, the Omni Hotel, and other supporting hotels in December 2014.

Why did ACPA select Nashville and the Music City Center as the Convention Site?

ACPA’s Governing Board selected Nashville as a convention location for its proximity to thousands of college student educators through its over 20 colleges and universities in the Nashville area alone. 

The Music City Convention Center promises access to renowned hospitality and tourism resources located in the heart of downtown Nashville with enough space for our large-scale convention. This convention center is a popular choice due to its location in the city and outstanding services for visitors. The Music City Center has used this popularity to contribute to the surrounding community, spending $10.8 million with minority, women-owned, and small businesses, achieving a 47.9% participation in Disadvantaged Business Enterprise from the Department of Transportation in its first five years. 

Why might travel to Tennessee be challenging?

We understand and acknowledge that travel to Tennessee may be challenging for some members due to recent state-level legislative actions. In 2016, Tennessee passed HB1840 or SB1556, allowing counselors to refuse care to LGBTQ+ clients due to personal or religious beliefs, as long as they refer the client to another provider. Tennessee also passed HB1111 or SB1085 that may allow adoption agencies the discretion to interpret the law to exclude same-sex couples. In September 2016, the state of California barred state funded professional travel to 8 U.S. states (more recently expanded to a total of 10 U.S. states), including Tennessee, citing these harmful policies that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Why isn’t ACPA moving locations?

In a November 2017 vote, ACPA’s Governing Board revisited hosting the 2020 Annual Convention and decided to remain in Nashville. The values reflected in our Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization call on us to be intentional about our active engagement with institutions and communities, to confront and advocate against racism, sexism, xenophobia, and anti-LGBTQ sentiments directly. We will actively support colleagues in Tennessee and engage in advocacy efforts alongside them. We will continue to approach these issues proactively while partnering with and supporting minoritized communities. We are committed to supporting colleges anduniversities in locations where our values align and those where our values do not align with state/local politics, culture, or ideologies, and aim to use our platform to be an agent of change.

I am worried about my safety or being LGBTQ+ in Nashville. How is ACPA going to ensure my safety?

Although ACPA cannot guarantee the safety of its participants in any location, we will continue to work with local agencies and service providers to ensure that we can provide as safe of an experience as possible for members while they attend Convention. As part of the planning process, there will be an Equity & Inclusion (E&I) team engaging in conversations about ways to provide support to members. Additionally, the E&I Team will work closely with the Governing Board and International Office in proactively identifying and responding to any reports of bias that occur during the convention. 

What action has ACPA taken since the legislation passed?

ACPA will continue to plan our convention and travel locations proactively and have taken the following actions:

  • We have included a clause in our convention contracts, starting in 2021, allowing ACPA to withdraw without penalty from agreements should state and/or local governments pass discriminatory legislation;
  • We have committed to avoid hosting any future professional development events in states that have been barred for state-funded travel by the California Attorney General’s Office, with the caveat that California may continue to update the list after we have already signed contracts;
  • The ACPA20 Equity & Inclusion (E&I) team is engaging in conversations about ways to provide support to members and we have identified a resources list for members of the LGBTQ community visiting or residing in Nashville.;
  • The ACPA20 Equity & Inclusion team will work closely with the Governing Board and International Office in proactively identifying and responding to any reports of bias that occur during the convention;
  • ACPA’s 2021 Convention will occur in Long Beach, CA to ensure that California members can attend;
  • We authored a letter to the California Attorney General’s Office in April 2019 requesting exception for participation/travel to Nashville for theACPA 2020 convention, citing Gov. Code, § 11139.8, subd. (c), which grants exception to contractual obligations incurred before January 1, 2017; 
  • We sent an email communication to California members in August 2019 to provide an update that they are able to petition to their campus Vice President for Student Affairs for an exemption to AB1887 to use funds to travel to Nashville as no other convention or conference offers the training we are able to provide on the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization or if they are involved in a leadership role they’ve been involved in since before AB1887 passed in 2017;
  • Understanding the travel ban may impact funding support and ability to register under the Advanced Registration Rate, or that some from California may be required to pay out of pocket if they are to attend, we are offering our California members a 15% discount off registration for ACPA20 to support their attendance. 

How many people attend Convention?

In recent years, we’ve had between 2,500 and 3,000 attendees at our Annual Convention. 

What support is available for accessibility needs?

The ACPA20 Planning Team is committed to the creation of a convention experience that is accessible to all attendees. The ACPA20 Access Guide includes information and resources to support access to convention experiences. If you are an individual with a disability and would like to request an accommodation for the ACPA20 Convention, note your request in your registration or contact the Convention Access Coordinator, Dale O’Neill, at [email protected] by Friday, February 7, 2020.