Oxford University Cave Club

AGM Hilary 2000 

Wednesday 16th February 2000

Minutes, etc.

"OUCC this term"

OUCC Home Page


  1. Apologies
  2. Minutes of last meeting & Matters arising
  3. Officers' reports
  4. OUSF news
  5. PDCMG news
  6. A Motion
  7. Procs
  8. Election of officers for 2000/1

1. Apologies

Apologies received from Tim Guilford and Lynn Mulelly.

Present were: Chris Densham (chair), Steve Roberts, Britt Jorgensen, Joanne Whistler, Hilary Greaves (secretary), Pip Crosby, Jemma Viavala, Simon Goddard, Lev Bishop, Joan Arthur, Rich Doyle, Emma Marshall, Charlotte Regan, Paul Mann

2. Matters arising from minutes of TGM/last AGM

The minutes of the Michaelmas 99 TGM were accepted as a true, accurate and fantastic representation of the meeting.

Yorkshire accommodation debate: re. Southerscales. Chris contacted Mrs Beresford to ask about the possibility of us getting a discount. She said they have no problems filling the place, so it doesn't look likely that our request is going to work.

Caravans: It was agreed that we'll have an Ingleton caravans weekend again next term.

3. Officers' Reports:

a) President

"In the interests of speed and efficiency the President has nothing to report"

b) Chair

Chris has contacted OU Sports Federation about the possibility of the Cave Club getting some more money from them. He suggested four areas where we may be deserving of cash: (i) transport subsidies, (ii) personal equipment for use by/selling onto novices, (iii) lamps, (iv) training. The initial response looks promising. Some of these issues are related to safety and will be appropriate for our upcoming meeting with Steve Finch, the OUSF safety officer (see (4) below). The transport issue will be discussed with Jon Roycroft, OU Director of Sport. We notice that other clubs who necessarily travel long distances (eg for matches) have their transport subsidized. Our van costs certainly represent a significant part of the cost of caving trips, especially for undergrads (and others in Oxford): therefore transport subsidy would be an effective way of aiming the main financial benefit at the club's student members. On a related note, Paul admitted "I have broken it down in the past" (you and me both... in fact, who hasn't... etc... tee hee) To avoid attacking OUSF in a confused manner from all directions, Chris will remain the club contact point on these issues and will deal with both Steve Finch and Jon Roycroft. Can everyone else please go through Chris, so to speak.

c) Secretary

Bevington Road: The security system is being changed: new swipe cards are being issued. We have to pay a £5 deposit for each card we need. We will ask for 2 cards, one to be held by the Treasurer and one to be kept in a safe place in the gear hut. (You need the card to get to the new toilets - you can't get into them directly from outside, only access is via the front door of the building.)

Mailing lists: General consensus that these have been a Good Thing. Only problem is with the Ario2000 list, which is occasionally being misused, i.e. people are broadcasting messages to the entire list when they mean to direct their query to the committee. This is presumably because we just haven't publicized the intended purpose, and membership, of the list well enough. (There is no committee-only mailing list. Queries intended for the committee should be sent directly to the individuals concerned.) Hilary will send an email to all list members explaining the above.

NCA Training: Following the University Forum at the BCRA conference, the NCA is again running training courses for cavers who are "personally competent but find themselves in a position of responsibility" ie organizing and leading trips, looking after novices. Reports from those who took part last year (from other university clubs) were very good. There is a choice of courses. The most convenient is Tony Flanagan's, at the end of 8th week in Yorkshire. Accommodation, food and transport are not provided, so participants could go along with the "normal" club weekend to take part in the course. The cost is £40 per delegate, of which we agreed half would be provided by the club, half by the delegate. Anyone who wants to take part should contact Hilary ASAP. Hilary will send an email round to ask who wants to put their name down.

d) Meets Sec

Rich thanked Chris for his help with organizing the New Year meet. This went very well as did the Mendip weekend. Come to Wales!

e) Treasurer

The accounts are doing well at the moment. We got a £250 grant from OUSF. We are currently £1250 up on what we'd expect to have, this is partly due to the time of year and funds tend to go down in the summer term. However lots of money is owed by members. We will consider reducing minibus transport charges for caving weekends. A quick survey of the undergraduates present demonstrated that the high cost of a trip was a very real factor in limiting the amount of caving students can do.

Paul will look into what might be a reasonable reduction. Paul may be moving out of Oxford in the foreseeable future, in which case someone else should take over as treasurer. Paul could still oversee the accounts and offer help to the treasurer, but someone Oxford-based should get involved. We will look out for suitable candidates.

f) Gear Post

The ropewashing party happened on the dinner weekend. It wasn't grim and squalid, in fact it was positively enjoyable, and we got all the club rope washed. It now needs checking, and damaged ropes will need to be cut/relabelled/shrinkwrapped. We'll meet to do this on Monday of 9th week, starting lunchtime (students and similar non-workers) and continuing into the evening. This is another Big job and will be best done as a social occasion with Loadsa People, so COME!! We'll probably do a BBQ at the same time or summat, and get pissed, obviously.

Hut keys - these should be held by "club officers and other particularly active caving members", basically, anyone who's quite likely to need to get into the hut other than when they're meeting other people at the hut anyway. If you don't have a key and think you should, contact Hilary (claimants so far: Jo, Lev) - similarly if you have "acquired" one and don't need it.

g) Lamp Post

The club lamps were in a good state before the Greenclose meet last term, when 4 or 5 of them went missing. These have still not been traced. Of those remaining, 2 were lost to CUCC at New Year, 4 or 5 are currently out of order, 6 are working. Doyle will contact the Greenclose hut warden in an effort to chase up our lost lamps. (They're all marked with white numbers or with "OUCC".) Lev will get hold of some spare parts and get the out-of-order lamps working.

h) Van Men

The red van engine is now in the white van, creating of course the Van Rose.

The van has not been doing at all well of late, between various repair jobs and a hole being drilled in its petrol tank a few weeks ago, and is requiring a lot of money and time to keep going. The van account owes a lot of money to the club account. Chris has tried to sort out the van accounts but "it all got a bit confusing". Paul will come to the rescue. Paul will calculate, on the basis of our past van-owning experience, whether it seems cheaper to keep our own van or hire one as we need it.

i) Expedition Leader

The Extremero 99 report is nearly finished, thanks to everyone who has contributed! Plans for Ario 2000 are coming along nicely. Expedition dates are 3 July to 22 August, exploration aims up- and downstream 2/7, sun, booze and good times... Speaking of which, we're sponsored by Thornton's again J Graham Naylor is organizing a Xitu team whose time in the Picos will overlap with the main OUCC expedition. More info to be sent out shortly, contact Pip with any queries. And of course... Come to Spain!!

4. OUSF news - Hilary

Hilary went to another Captain's committee meeting and reports that it was gripping.

Minibuses: The deal between OU and Hotson's is changing as of the start of next term. If we hire minibuses through this scheme, drivers must have passed the OU test. This costs £10 (club will pay) and is easy. Jo, Paul and Britt have already passed, Doyle, Steve R, Simon and Hilary will take the test next term. Each to book own test - contact bob.barnes@admin for dates/details of tests. The deal is open to "matriculated members and employees" of OU, who are 21 or older, and have been driving for at least 2 years. (For the record: if you passed your test after January 1997, you'll need to take an additional test to be allowed to tow trailers on vehicles with over 9 seats.) Also for the record, some insurance small print. If you're 25 or over, the insurance excess is £250. If 21-25, it's £400. So always pretend the old bastard was driving...

Safety: OUSF now requires us to carry out a Risk Assessment and to write a club Code of Practice. The latter is to include sections on Club aims, Health and Safety and accident procedures, equipment maintenance and use, and training. Steve Finch is the new(ish) OU Sports Federation Safety officer. He will be meeting with some of the committee (probably Steve Roberts, Paul, Chris, Hilary, or some of these) within the next few weeks, to discuss caving safety issues and the involvement of OUSF. OUSF recognizes and respects governing body guidelines, in preference to interfering with uninformed views. Anyone going to this meeting should read the NCA guidelines for university and college caving clubs first. We believe OUSF may agree that several aspects of cave club expenditure deserve financial OUSF support on safety grounds, and this is one of the things we will be discussing. However we recognize the potential harmful effects of portraying training as a safety issue: we do not want to encourage university authorities to consider professional training an essential for caving safety, and would emphasise that courses such as the NCA student courses (see sec's report) and the rescue training we are planning for next term are bonus extras, on top of the basic (and adequate) in-club training system.

Impending paperwork: The following developments are in the pipeline.

  1. We will be required to notify OUSF of trip dates, location, contact number etc.
  2. We will be required to report any accidents to OUSF, including "near-misses" where it is judged a significant accident "could have occurred".

Iffley Road facilities: A swimming pool will open sometime in 2001. We will ask Steve Finch about possibilities for SRT training in the Iffley Road complex.

5. PDCMG news - Chris/Tim

Tim is doing a bat survey in Draenen. Results of this will go to the "biological recorder" (as opposed to a museum). Steve Roberts has offered to put the Draenen website on Norbert. In the meantime Chris knows where it is - ask Chris.

6. A motion - Paul


Intentions: These are personal, from my experiences as treasurer and with expeditions. I hope these suggest directions in which the process may move; without pre-empting the deeds of any working party. Please suggest other points that need consideration, and counter any of these you strongly disagree with.

  1. In considering our constitution, we should make it plain that the club is there to service the caving needs of its members, and is not there to simply further its own ends. We do not wish to create a bureaucratic monster; a degree of common sense should be exercised in setting our priorities.
  2. I think there are lots of inter-related problems, that need addressing by a small group. There is too much detail to consider in a large forum such as the TGMs, which should be kept short and sweet as much as possible. The TGMs should, however, be used to sound out opinion on controversial points.
  3. The club has a constitutional problem that needs resolving. The constitution was amended to reflect the nature of the club about 8 years ago; we still operate under this. However, we know of no existing copy of this document; the best we have appears to date to the 1960's! It would be best to produce a new document rather than operate in potential confusion.
  4. The club was established under the rules laid out by the proctors, through the "Clubs Committee". We are now answering through the "Sports Federation", (via Sports Committee), our expedition answers through the "Expeditions Council", and nominally via the exploration club. It would help if we could delineate which aspects of club activities fall under which body, as at present we risk responsibility being taken by all or none depending on situation.
  5. As mentioned above, the expedition nominally is an activity of OU Exploration Club. It would eliminate the annual tussle over publication money if we could remove this anomaly; we after all produce our own club publications. We should seek to open up expedition organising rights to ourselves, the divers & the mountaineers, in addition to the current OUEC.
  6. As part of our constitution, we should create a "will" for the club. This could act as a sweetener for OUEC, as we could specify that our publication fund & general expedition assets would pass to them. Caving equipment could be passed on to other cavers, rather than being left to rot in a store.
  7. There may be ways of increasing our grant incomes; investigating these should be done in conjunction with any review. Conversely, it is important that we keep secure any funding that we already have; clarity about how we run our club (i.e. Expedition, Publications and Van are considered separate subsidiary entities) should justify why we don't declare RGS expedition grants or Publication Account balances in our club grant applications.
  8. Any new constitution should endeavour to represent the operating practices of the club; we should have little reason to reconstruct ourselves anew; or burden ourselves with new constraints we can't keep to. We should not include items which we have no intention of following simply to please university authorities, but through discussion with the various committees and ultimately the proctors we should endeavour to have our structure accepted.

OUTCOME: Motion passed. A working party consisting of Steve, Paul, Chris, Jo and Simon will draw up a new constitution. The rest of the club should contact this group with any suggestions/comments.

7. Procs

Pauline has recently been busy but is happy to continue editing Proc 14. Collection of material is almost finished - still remaining include some slides from Paul, an F64 survey from Steve... Help with editing will be offered at Pauline's request. Proc 15: Paul was designated to edit Proc 15, but has been been too ill/busy and suggested that someone else may want to take over. Nobby's name was put forward as a possible editor (but we haven't asked him yet...) Lev doesn't want to be editor, but volunteered to act as local hassler if someone from out of Oxford was chosen to edit. Joan also volunteered to act as an assistant to an editor.

8. Election of officers for 2000/2001

Amidst traditionally fierce competition the following battles were fought and the losers' entrails ceremoniously draped across the boardroom table:

Post Nominated Result
Chair Chris (proposed Jo, seconded Steve) Elected unopposed
Secretary Jemma (proposed Hilary, seconded Chris);
Lynn (proposed Lev, seconded Doyle)
Elected - Jemma
Meets Sec Hilary (proposed Chris, seconded Jo) Elected unopposed
/Apprentice Treasurer
Alison (proposed Lev, seconded Jo);
Britt (proposed Chris, seconded Hilary)
Election deferred. Paul will continue as Treasurer at the moment but an apprentice is sought. Alison was absent.
Gear Simon (proposed Lev, seconded Hilary);
Doyle (proposed Chris, seconded Paul)
Elected - Simon
Lamp post Simon (proposed Lev, seconded Hilary);
Doyle (proposed Chris, seconded Steve)
Elected - Doyle
Van man Chris (proposed Steve, seconded Hilary) Elected unopposed