Well, the SBL decided to change its policies for student presentations. The exact changes are as follows:
1. All students without a doctoral degree are required to submit to the Program Unit Chair the full text of the paper they will read. The paper will be submitted at the time of proposal. Student proposers will submit the paper they intend to read, not a full-length article intended for written distribution.
2. The number of sessions students can participate in will be limited to one. This policy pertains to participation as panelist, presenter, and respondent.
I do not dispute the second point as much as the first. I agree that students (and really most members) should only be permitted one presentation.
The policy was that first time presenters had to submit a full manuscript and have it approved by the Program Unit Chair. I understand the rational for this. But what does the SBL stand to gain by having all student members submit all their manuscripts to the Program Unit Chair? Is this is an undue burden on the Chairs, since presumably they will have to read all of these manuscripts? I think it is an undue burden on the student, who may not have a full manuscript ready by February for a November presentation. I will be interested to see what student involvement will be next year.