The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) will fold its “Multicultural Communications Section,” merging it into the organization’s Diversity Committee, PRNewser has learned.
In a terse statement, Kerri Allen, Co-Chair of Executive Committee for the Multicultural Communications Section said, “On the eve of 2010, what organization would scrap their multicultural initiatives? What’s next on the chopping block? That silly social media thingy?” Allen also said the decision was not discussed in advance and that her committee received written notice on December 17th.
William R. Murray, president and COO, PRSA told PRNewser the move is part of a multi-year plan to re-evaluate objectives within PRSA, one that members of the section were well aware of. “The multicultural section has been struggling for a long time,” he said. “There are 73 people in this section,” out of 22,000 national PRSA members. He said members of the section were aware they had to meet a 200 person headcount to stay viable, a figure Allen disputes.
Murray also said other sections have merged in the last year, including the Food and Beverage and Travel and Tourism sections. In terms of communicating the news, he said, “I regret that leaders of the multicultural section felt that there was some sort of communication breakdown.”
A key issue for Allen, is that the diversity committee means “less influence within the organization” as committee’s appoint leaders ad-hoc — as opposed to voting, which happens with sections. Also, committees have no voting power within the organization.
“If their social media section was down a couple of members, would they tell them the day before their office was closed for two weeks for the holiday, after 26 years of involvement?” Allen asked. “It’s like moving the voting location the day before the election.”
After the jump, competing statements from both Allen and the PRSA.