Sunday, April 18, 2010

Some of those in Las Vegas...

...are unfortunately forced to stay in Las Vegas.

I talked to at least 5 people at the 2010 Broadcast Education Association convention who now have no place to go. They are among our international members who traveled to Las Vegas before that volcano in Iceland began to disrupt travel to, from and throughout Europe.

One person told me he was going to stay behind one more day before likely traveling to New York, where there will eventually be more flights to the U.K.

I'm sure a few people reading this are wondering why being stranded in Las Vegas is a big deal. Consider any of the following items, to see why it does matter:

1. The academic year is on-going, meaning that these people have classes to teach, papers to grade, meetings to have and other issues connected with being a member of a university faculty. Who will fill in for these people?

2. Universities are not flush with cash, and I promise you those of us in academia are not either. So, how are the extra days in Las Vegas, New York or anywhere going to be paid? I expect that university administrators will make the appropriate accommodations for their faculty who are stuck in the U.S., but let's assume that each person here ends up needing an additional $1,500 before they are able to make it home. If you have two people from the same institution "stranded" in Las Vegas, then you have doubled that figure.

In short, this volcano will be one of the signature stories of 2010, and the longer it goes on the more important and disruptive it will be. But for a few of my colleagues, it means so much more.

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