Newnham College Boat Club Constitution

Last updated: May 2021


The Club shall be known as Newnham College Boat Club, hereinafter referred to as THE CLUB or NCBC.


The aims of The Club are to offer the opportunity to participate in rowing to all members of Newnham College; to represent the colleges in inter-collegiate events in Cambridge; and to represent the college in external races.


A. The following are eligible for membership:

i. Any current matriculated member of Newnham College, Cambridge. Or:

ii. Current students or staff of the University of Cambridge who have previously been a member of Newnham College.

B. Qualification of members

An individual qualifies as a member of NCBC after completing one full term of novice rowing and/or satisfying the requirements for subscription payment.

An individual no longer qualifies as a member of NCBC, for the purposes of election, upon graduating, unless they matriculate again into any college at the university. Once graduated a member becomes a Gryphen. 

C. Subscription

Categorized based on the following criteria:

i. Any individual using NCBC equipment on three occasions or more from nought week to nought week of each university term, excluding the long vacation, is required to pay subscription to The Club.

ii. Any returning member using NCBC equipment on three or more occasions during the long vacation is required to pay subscription costs for the long vacation. For new members the long vacation counts as part of Michaelmas term.

iii. Subscription costs will be set by NCBC committee and will be displayed on the website ( Any changes to the subscription costs will be announced to the Boat Club with one terms notice.

iv. Club equipment, as referred to above, includes boats, blades, cox box and maintenance equipment.


Committee meetings shall be held every term, the date and time subject to availability of the committee members. The main purpose of these meetings shall be to discuss committee business and, at the beginning of Easter Term, to facilitate the formal election of the new committee (hereafter, ‘the Election Meeting’). Any member of NCBC, as defined in section 3, may attend these meetings.


A. The committee shall conduct the affairs of The Club as a whole, and shall consist of those individuals elected at the Election Meeting to the positions listed below:

i. Captain

ii. Vice-Captain

iii. Lower Boats Captains

iv. Boat Club Secretary

v. Treasurer

vi. Water Safety and Equipment Officer

vii. Social Secretary

viii. Regatta Secretary

ix. Social Media and IT Officer

x. Development Officer

xi. Captain of Coxes

B. Any member as described by 3.B can run for a position. Members must send in manifestos 48 hours before the Election Meeting. An individual can only run for one position at the Election Meeting. An individual can hold two or more positions on the committee if they are elected to the first position after the Election Meeting and subsequent positions at the By-Election. 

C. All members as described by 3.B will be eligible to vote. Voting shall be carried out according to the following rules:

i. The Secretary will open a register to vote a month before the election, closing registering a week before the Election Meeting.

ii. A provisional list of nominations shall be disseminated by the Secretary 48 hours before the Election Meeting.

Iii. The hustings will be run at the Election Meeting, with potential candidates for positions making a speech and answering a question from the outgoing officer

iv. The election will be run by secret ballot, via the CUSU online voting system. Voters will be asked to rank the candidates, 1 being their most preferred candidate, 2 their second most preferred candidate, etc, where “reopen nominations” counts as a candidate. The first preference votes for all candidates will then be counted. If one candidate has a majority of votes then that candidate wins the election. If no candidate has a majority, then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their votes are redistributed. Votes are redistributed by adding the votes from the eliminated candidate to the tally of the candidate that is listed as the second preference on the ballot. If one candidate now has a majority, they win the election. If no candidate has a majority (which will only occur if there are more than two candidates remaining) this process is repeated, eliminating the candidate with the fewest votes, until one a candidate has a majority of votes. If the request to reopen nominations has the majority of votes in any round then nominations will be reopened and the election run again.

xvii. If a position is reopened or a position is not run for in the initial round of elections, a by-election should be organised at the earliest possible convenience of the committee.

xviii. For the year 2020-21 only, novice rowers (defined as all those who have rowed in at least three outings in an NCBC boat during Easter Term 2021) can run for any position (barring captaincy) and vote in the election for the 2021-22 committee.

xix. For the year 2020-21 only, at least one senior rower will be elected as Lower Boats’ Captain for the 2021-22 committee. Should the top three winners of the election all be novice rowers, the novice rower with the lowest vote share will be replaced by the senior rower with the largest majority.

D. The committee term of office shall commence at 11:59pm on the last day of May Bumps, and run till 11:59pm on the last day of May Bumps the following year.


A. Captain

  • Committee spokesperson for The Club to Newnham College and external parties.
  • Chair committee meetings.
  • Organise and set an agenda for committee meetings in conjunction with the Boat Club Secretary and captains.
  • Oversee the organisation of Rowing Week.
  • Coordinate the setting of crews 
    • Deciding which coaches should attend
    • Represent the perspectives of The Club
    • Make final decision on crews and relay these to the rowers/coxes
  • Organize sponsorship of The Club with the assistance of the development officer.
  • Oversee umpiring and marshalling duties for Lent and May Bumps.
  • Correspond with other colleges when required, particularly colleges we share a Boat House with.
  • Attend CUCBC meetings.
  • Should usually be elected having previously served in another position on the Committee.

B. Vice-Captain

  • Chair meetings in the Captain’s absence.
  • Aid the Captain in producing agendas and organising committee meetings and training.
  • Aid the Captain in other tasks as the Captain sees necessary.
  • Maintain the constitution in an up-to-date format.

C. Lower Boats Captains

  • Train novice rowers and coxswains in both Easter and Michaelmas Term, using both the ergometers and the boats.
  • Oversee the training and entry for novice races.
  • Ensure novice rowers and coxswains have passed the required swim test.
  • Aid the integration of novices into the Boat Club as a whole.

D. Boat Club Secretary

  • Take minutes at committee meetings and ensure they are distributed to all committee members.
  • Maintain a list of Boat Club members.
  • Maintain the Boat Club board within College.
  • Organise the ordering of club kit.

E. Social Secretary

  • Organise Boat Club social events, including:
    • Termly Boat Club dinners
    • Rowing week-related social events
    • Rowing swaps
    • Internal club events
  • Excluding individual crew events
  • Aid the integration of ALL parts of the Boat Club
  • Work with the Lower Boats Captains to organise representation of The Club at Newnham Fresher’s Fair and aid the Captain in recruitment of members.

F. Water Safety and Equipment Officer

  • Committee representative to British Rowing, including ensuring the annual British Rowing safety audit is up-to-date.
  • With the lower boat captains, ensure all rowers and coxswains have passed the required swim test.
  • With the lower boat captains, ensure individuals receive the correct training before using any club equipment.
  • Ensure accidents are handled in accordance with the Newnham Boat Club Major Incidents Policy.
  • Ensure first aid equipment and emergency procedures are in place.
  • Keep an up to date inventory of boats, oars, coxboxes, and lifejackets.
  • Ensure the security and maintenance of NCBC equipment.
  • Coordinate the repairs of equipment when necessary.
  • Maintain the boat replacement record and schedule.
  • Consult with boatmen and third parties, with help from the Captain.

G. Treasurer

  • Handle claims for reimbursement from members.
  • Handle payments for events such a Boat Club dinner and kit.
  • Oversee the Club budget and produce a termly report on budget and accounts.
  • Pay race entries and costs of repairs or purchases.
  • Payment of coaches.

H. Regatta Secretary

  • Liaise with the Captain regarding which external regattas shall be entered.
  • Help the captain make entries and liaise with the treasurer to arrange payments to external regattas.
  • Help the captain arrange trailering to external regattas.
  • Lead the running of NCBC’s annual race, Newnham Head (previously known as Newnham Short Course).

I. Social Media & IT Officer

  • Maintain the NCBC website with up-to-date information on committee members, racing results, sponsors, upcoming events and donation possibilities.
  • Maintain The Club’s ownership of its domain (
  • Administrate the other internet resources of NCBC (e.g. Facebook group, Instagram).
  • Maintain The Club’s mailing lists.

J. Development Officer

  • Advertise NCBC-related events to alumnae and sponsors.
  • Maintains and develops relations with the Development Office of the college.
  • Maintains an alumnae database including alumnae information.
  • Liaise with the IT Officer to promote The Club on the internet.
  • Investigate potential sponsors of The Club and develop links between the captain and potential sponsors of The Club.

K. Captain of Coxes

  • To support coxes in their development during and beyond novice term, and to provide specific support in relation to race coxing and planning races
  • To coordinate between coxes and be the main point of contact for them
  • To coordinate between coxes and coaches, in regard to support, feedback or training
  • To liase with the Equipment Officer and Boatmen to ensure that there is working equipment directly related to coxes’ job: cox boxes; cox box chargers; life jackets; speed coaches; lights; tape


A motion of no confidence may be raised against any member of NCBC including committee members, rowers, coxswains and coaches. The motion must be proposed and seconded by separate members of The Club, must be supported in writing, including a statement of its proposed consequence, to the committee. The member questioned by the motion must be notified within 24 hours from the proposal and have at least 48 hours to respond before the vote takes place. The final decision will be reached by a secret ballot by committee members to reach a two-thirds majority decision under normal quorum. Under these circumstances committee members must vote in the ballot within 48 hours although they may formally abstain.


The committee shall manage the affairs of The Club. Financial or legal liability incurred in the rightful exercise of their office shall not, however, be the personal liability of the committee, but shall be the responsibility of The Club as a whole.

Individuals are members of NCBC at their own risk. NCBC accepts no liability for personal injury or death sustained during activities undertaken by its members.


The elected Water Safety Officer will liaise with British Rowing and CUCBC on issues of safety. All members must pass the British Rowing swim test, as required by CUCBC

The Club accepts the policy and procedures relating to child protection as set out by British Rowing, and as such it is a condition that all members of The Club must be over the age of 18.


The Club will endeavour to ensure that the talents and resources of all members are utilised to the full and that no member receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of gender, disability, marital status, creed, social class, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation or is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be relevant to performance, reliability or crew morale.


A. Use of all equipment is governed by the captain. No one may use the eights or four or single without the relevant captains’ permission. This includes the use of boats in racing. Due to the design and weight limits of the boats, no men may row in the boats at any time.

B. Rules concerning the use of ergs and other Boat Club equipment will be set from time to time by the committee. The Newnham gym is not part of the Boat Club equipment.


Crews competing in Lent or May Bumps races may be awarded blades under the following circumstances. A crew shall be awarded blades when all of the following conditions are met:

A. Crew achieves a bump on each of the four days of competition, remaining Head of the River is considered as a bump.

B. Crew achieves a bump at every opportunity to bump.

C. Crew is not bumped during the course of competition.

In the circumstances of obstruction/technical results on one of the days, it is the Captains decision whether to award blades. However, the crew must have had a very high probability of bumping in order for this to be considered.


NCBC members of crews competing in Lent or May Bumps races may be eligible to buy a the blue Newnham Boat Club blazer if they meet the following criteria:

i. The member rowed, coxed or coached in a NCBC racing crew that competed in May or Lent Bumps. This includes members who have previously fit these criteria but were not awarded a blazer at the time.


From 2020, NCBC members who compete in the First Boat for May bumps are awarded a W1 pin and NCBC members who served on committee from 2020 are awarded a committee pin. 

Any member who has raced in W1 Mays or held a position on Committee may be eligible to buy a W1 or committee pin. 


A. The Treasurer will report to the committee the current balance of the Boat Club account annually and upon request.

B. At any time, by motion, the committee may allocate a budget from the Boat Club account to be administered by one or more committee members for up to one year. The committee, by motion, may alter these arrangements at any time.

C. Any committee member may be reimbursed from the Boat Club account for reasonable minor or routine expenses associated with the Boat Club. The member will report this to the Treasurer, who will liaise with the appropriate committee member.

D. Any one signatory solely may sign an instruction for the bank account


Any matter not provided for in this constitution, or any question over the interpretation of it shall be dealt with by the committee, whose decision shall be final. Decisions shall be reached by a majority vote of committee members.


A. The Boat Club funds are used to cover squad training, Boat Club equipment and entries in regattas in an NCBC crew.

B. Members competing in external regattas or training camps normally pay the entry fees, trailering fees, and other such costs.


A. In line with section 5.2 (v) of the Newnham JCR Constitution, The Club, having an annual turnover of over £500, requires a Senior Treasurer. This will be a Senior Member appointed by The Club, subject to the approval of the College Council.

B. The role of the Senior Treasurer includes the supervision of the accounts of The Club.


A. The constitution should be reviewed by the Vice-Captain, with aid from the Captain for the Lent committee meeting.

B. Any changes to the constitution must be passed by a majority of the committee and supported by the Senior Treasurer. Committee members must decide whether all club members need to be consulted or can just be passed by the committee.