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AAAS Switches Meeting Place; Supports ERA

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The Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) voted Monday to move its 1979 annual convention from Chicago to Houston because Illinois has not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), Carol Rogers, public information officer for the AAAS, said yesterday.

The board also voted to "support the aims of the ERA" and reaffirmed an earlier decision to hold future meetings only in those states that have ratified the amendment.

No ERA, No Stay

Rogers said the board's decision was prompted by its consensus that women members and the AAAS in general would be "uncomfortable" if it met in a state that has not ratified the amendment.

Allen Goldhamer, director of public relations for the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, estimated that Chicago will lose at least $1.2 million as a result of the Association's move to Houston.

Goldhamer said more than 20 major educational and scientific organizations are boycotting Chicago as a convention meeting place.

The Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau is pressuring the legislature to pass the ERA because it has assessed Chicago's total losses in revenue at more than $17 million as a result of Illinois' failure to ratify the amendment, Suzanne Croteau, field organizer for ERA-Illinois, said yesterday.

Although it seems probable that the ERA will be affirmed in the Chicago House of Representatives, it may not get through the Senate, Croteau added.

Goldhamer explained that since national organizations do not meet in the local communities represented by the majority of senators, the legislators do not have to worry about any loss in business caused by the absence of an Equal Rights Amendment. "Downstaters hate Chicago anyway," he added.

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