Date posted: Sun, 26 Jul 2015
Posted by: Richard Bassett-Smith

Message to Club members and friends,

As many of you will now be aware there was a significant accident on a recent MUMC trip. This occurred during a caving trip to Buchan Caves (Saturday July 4th) when one member, Sally Meikle, had an uncontrolled descent while abseiling. This resulted in serious injuries and extended hospitalisation. The Club has been in contact with Sally to make her aware that our members care deeply about her and the difficulties she is facing during her recovery. She has expressed her appreciation of this and that she is doing really well and feeling positive. She is up in a manual wheelchair and looking forward to going to rehab soon.

MUMC is based around a network of young adults who share like-minded interests in adventure-based activities in the great outdoors. It’s through these shared interests that we make new friends and develop relationships. And it’s in a time like this, when a serious incident has occurred, that support from our friends is most important. The Club Committee will be continuing to support all members of the July 4th caving trip, and we encourage you to also show your support, particularly for Sally, as she begins her road to recovery.

The Club has been working with the University and Melbourne University Sport to review the events leading to the accident. The health and safety of our members is, and will always remain, our priority in the provision of recreational opportunities for our members. The University has provided counselling support for our members who were participating in the caving trip. The University has also appointed a senior staff member to support Sally and her family, and to facilitate her return to studies in due course.

As an interim measure, the Club has suspended all rope-related activities and equipment hire. This time during suspension will be used to review our policies and procedures regarding the safety of our club members in roped sports and in the club as a whole. We are working hard to finish this review in a timely manner and if necessary, implement any recommendations that may arise from the review. We appreciate your understanding in this matter.

In light of recent events the committee has decided to postpone the AGM from the 11th of August to a date no later than October 15th. A meeting will still occur on the 11th of August where a formal motion to postpone the meeting will occur. This delay is to provide continuity while the club deals with internal and external reviews and recommendations resulting from the accident. We welcome input and contributions from any member willing to help in this process but feel it would be an unfair burden to shoulder a new committee with. With this in mind, the clubrooms will be open on Wednesday nights to work through the matters at hand.

Finally, if any member would like to discuss any club activity, or has any feedback on our operations, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the Club Committee. Alternatively, members can contact Sport Development Manager Rod Warnecke at Melbourne University Sport.

With regards,

Richard Bassett-Smith
Melbourne University Mountaineering Club

PS: This message was originally sent out in July but due to technical difficulties, it didn't reach everyone. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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