[CUCBC Captains] Minutes
wilfried at cucbc.org
Thu Feb 12 21:59:12 GMT 2015
thanks for your e-mail.
With reference to your first question, the Constitution point 12 is the relevant one: "That the committee or any person intending to bring forward a motion at a
general meeting shall ensure that a copy of the motion be given to the
Secretary at least three days before a meeting and the Secretary shall
ensure that all such motions are circulated with notice of the meeting."
As far as I am aware, no specific motion has been proposed or circulated; I am obviously very aware that various captains see a burning issue that they wish to 'discuss', but that is not the same as proposing a motion. Not least, should a motion be proposed to do something that is not possible to do, then whether or not it is passed becomes irrelevant.
With reference to your second point, my 'hypothesis' is not that 'poor quality rowing makes the cover invalid' as you put it. The emphasis is different: our insurance covers the CUCBC and its officials against claims, on the basis that in running the races we 'do our jobs' properly. If however, it can be shown (or even claimed) that we have been negligent, let alone reckless, in the way we have run things then that could indeed invalidate our insurance (and would also invalidate other similar forms of insurance). This is a standard property of insurance policies - we have not discussed this specific debate that has come up in the very recent past with our insurers, but over time we have had many discussions with them relating to limits and circumstances of our insurance - in essence to what we can control and what we cannot. It is very clear that one thing we should be able to have some control over is ensuring that events such as the bumps are only open
to entry by crews capable of dealing with this form of racing, which is both complex and potentially dangerous if not done properly.
In a circumstance such as now, we - i.e. our officers and race officials - have very clearly and publicly warning that we recognise a risk due to inexperience and lack of competence, based on hard experience of increasing difficulties and accidents over the last several years. As a result we are stating in the strongest terms that we will not run an event with further divisions than is the case at present, or until such time as we have confidence that the deficiency has been solved. (Some) captains clearly wish to pressurise us to increase the number of divisions now. This has two answers: (a) if, in theory, they could simply vote and force us to do so, then we would be directly going against our own very clear advice and assessment of the risks. In legal and insurance terms this would clearly lead to an accusation of negligence and recklessness; in practice there would then be a process to be followed by which the insurer would decide whether or not to
deny us cover, or to decide liability, in the event of any accident. Without prejudging the outcome of that, I have to point out that if we lose our overall cover, then liability will then fall on our officials and the crews and coaches involved in any accident and, if the accident involves serious, life threatening or long term injury, or death, then it can and will run into millions. No Club such as CUCBC, never mind the individuals involved, can afford to even conceive of taking that risk on themselves. However, the second answer, (b), is that should captains attempt to follow that line and enforce the type of changes being discussed on the lists, web etc, then quite simply this will be taken as a vote of no confidence in current committees and officials - if passed, they will be forced to resign, and even if not passed they may well still do so, as the reality is that the running of an event such as Bumps requires mutual confidence from both
sides, and this recent debate has severely damaged that, to the extent that your voluntary officials may well quite simply have had enough. If this does happen, there will be no organisation and no experienced officials to run an event, and any attempt to do so in an ad hoc way really will be seen as reckless by our insurers (never mind the University and College authorities themselves!). In reality, with such an outcome there will be no Lent races at all this year, and it is far from clear how easy it would be to resurrect them in future.
All of this sounds very negative, I am aware. I have been a Chief Umpire or equivalent since 1984, and Chaired CUCBC for the first decade after its creation. Believe me I and our other officials fundamentally wish to increase the opportunity and quality of college rowing, and that at all levels. But that desire has to be set into the context of reality. The present training system has hit the buffers, and with a long term view this is a recent event. Things cannot continue as they are, either in terms of the issues surrounding the Bumps specifically that have caused the current debate, or in how training and indeed the entire annual race calendar we have are constructed and used. As per my document, we really need all of us (committees, captains, all interested parties) to think outside the box on this one, because the status quo is clearly not viable, and there is no magic wand solution.
Whether or not I or other current officials remain involved very much depends on how this evening's meeting goes, but whether we stay or go, you current captains and your successors really do have a large and as yet unsolved challenge in front of you.
From: Nick Jones <nrvj2 at cam.ac.uk>
To: pcon at bas.ac.uk
Cc: captains at lists.cucbc.org; seniorcommittee <seniorcommittee at cucbc.org>; Wilfried Genest <wilfried at cucbc.org>
Sent: Wednesday, 11 February 2015, 15:13
Subject: Re: [CUCBC Captains] Captains' meeting reminder and message from CUCBC chair
Dear Prof Convey,
Thank you for your statement, which I found to be interesting reading. You raise some important points which do need discussing. Before tonight’s CUCBC meeting could you please clarify two things:
1) Which section of the CUCBC constitution do you interpret as meaning that a vote must be proposed prior to a meeting?
2) Has the CUCBC insurer ever been contacted to discuss if poor quality rowing makes the cover invalid, as hypothesised in your statement? If so, what was the response?
It is important that we have this information before tonight’s meeting so all can act accordingly.
I look forward to meeting with you this evening,
Selwyn BC Captain
On 11 Feb 2015, at 12:30, Wilfried Genest <wilfried at cucbc.org> wrote:
>May I remind you first that an extraordinary Captains' meeting will take place this evening (11 February) from 18:00 to 19:00 in the Large Lecture Theatre in the School of Divinity at St John's. Please be on time.
>The meeting this evening was called in response to the letter copied below , and the agenda therefore consists of one item, namely consideration of the issues raised. Also attached is a response from the committees. May I remind you that Captains' meetings are not an open forum but attendance and voting (two votes per club) is limited to current captains according to the list held by CUCBC, and CUCBC committee members. I look forward to a useful and I hope fruitful meeting.
>With my best wishes,
>Dr D J Munday, Chair CUCBC.
>"Dear Chairman of CUCBC,
>We, the undersigned, call upon you to hold a Captains' Meeting to discuss the reduction in the number of divisions in the Lent Bumps 2015.
>The decision from the CUCBC senior committee to reduce the number of divisions and cut one day of racing has led to a frankly ridiculous situation, with every single second women's boat having to qualify, and over 400 people who want to row being prevented from racing.
>The reasoning that was supplied to us to explain this change is flawed and short-sighted. More importantly, as recorded in the minutes, the change was not debated with the captains or even voted on!
>It seems obvious that CUCBC has failed its own purpose, which is to "take into account the wishes of the college clubs", represented by their elected captains, and hence we wish to call a meeting to go back to AT LEAST 4 men's and 3 women's divisions.
>It is essential to the development of college and university rowing that the hundreds of rowers in lower boats do not become dissatisfied with rowing and decide to drop out. If going back to the original number of divisions requires that the racing take place over five days, then we demand our representatives and CUCBC to use the resources available to them and make this possible.
>The Captains of College Boat Clubs in the attached email thread"
><CUCBC Statement Feb 2015.pdf>__________
>CUCBC Captains' Mailing List
>captains at lists.cucbc.org
>List Manager: webmaster at cucbc.org
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