BREAKING NEWS: OSA rejects merger with SPIE

Sept. 1, 1999
SANTA CLARA, CA--Members of the Optical Society of America (OSA; Washington, DC) have voted down a proposed merger with the SPIE--International Society for Optical Engineering (Bellingham, WA).

SANTA CLARA, CA--Members of the Optical Society of America (OSA; Washington, DC) have voted down a proposed merger with the SPIE--International Society for Optical Engineering (Bellingham, WA). A two-thirds vote was required for the unification proposal to pass, but only 49% of those voting cast ballots in favor of the merger. The official results, announced at the close of the annual business meeting on September 29, were 2420 in favor and 2551 opposed. The organization has more than 12,000 members worldwide.

The OSA said the vote effectively ends any further action on the merger for the foreseeable future, because both societies would have had to vote "yes" for unification to take place. Results of SPIE voting are scheduled to be announced October 5, at which time SPIE will issue a statement.

In an interview, OSA president Tony Siegman said he was pleased that almost half of those who voted not only supported the idea of unification but the specific proposal as well. He said he did not know how much of the "no" vote was a vote against specifics rather than against the concept of merger. It is too early to say whether a new proposal might be offered. "I haven't heard anyone talking about restarting the effort, and my sense is there isn't a lot of that," he said.

He called the process that proposed the merger "very collegial" and said it helped forge good relationships between OSA and SPIE members. The two societies have been looking for ways to collaborate in recent years, and Siegman expects that to continue.
"I think we'll have to see what happens, but we're certainly going to work for more cooperation," he said.

The voting took place through proxy ballots mailed to members in early August. Votes could also be cast during the OSA annual meeting, held Sept. 26-30 in Santa Clara.

About the Author

Neil Savage | Associate Editor

Neil Savage was an associate editor for Laser Focus World from 1998 through 2000.

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