The society's Junior Treasurer has been accused of abusing his positionSam Kunin for Varsity

Drama erupted at Cambridge University’s hillwalking society after its co-presidents reimbursed a speeding fine using committee funds, leading to accusations of unconstitutional conduct from its treasurer.

The dispute emerged after the society presidents used society funds to reimburse a £45 admin fee for a speeding ticket. The junior treasurer of the society then emailed all members to claim that the presidents had acted unconstitutionally.

In response to the email, the co-presidents accused the junior treasurer of abusing his position to send the allegations to all members of the society.

“Myself and other committee members disagreed [with the co-presidents’ conduct], finding it inappropriate for the Club to be financially punished for the actions of a member acting illegally,” the treasurer wrote.

One co-president of the hiking group then removed the treasurer’s access to society mailing lists and accounts, claiming that sending the email was a breach of the society's code of conduct.

The co-president stated that the treasurer had abused his position by sending the email, claiming: “There were plenty of proper channels for him to express his objections, such as the committee meeting on the subject that he failed to turn up to.”

The treasurer also claimed that the presidents had acted in an irresponsible manner in disregarding the advice of committee members in the dispute. The presidents denied this, claiming that there was unanimous support for the expensing of tickets by the society.

The dispute also led to an attempt to amend the constitution to allow the society to expense such fines without the permission of the treasurer, a policy the treasurer claimed “largely deviates from typical Cambridge societies’ policy”. This was later removed by one of the co-presidents following a meeting with the University Sports Service.

The president, in a statement at a society meeting, accepted that their original actions had been a mistake. “A one-off £45 payment seemed like a reasonable cost for the club to absorb. Mistakenly, I did not inform the rest of the committee, instead taking a unilateral decision,” they said.

The treasurer, in their original email, expressed dismay at the toxic state of affairs within the society, claiming that he was upset by “drama here on what has otherwise been a stable source of enjoyment away from the busy life of Cambridge”.

The hillwalking co-presidents told Varsity: The member paid for the speeding ticket, and [the co-president], as Acting Transport Secretary, told them the Club would pay the £45 admin fee levied by the hire company. [The co-president] acknowledges that he should have consulted with the committee first, and was happy to go with the later Committee majority decision.”


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“The Junior Treasurer abused his administrative access to the Club’s mailing list to email several thousand people his opinion on the amendment. Steps were taken immediately to limit his admin access to the mailing list, as well as members’ sensitive personal data as a precaution,” they continued.

The Junior Treasurer told Varsity: “I believe this matter has now been addressed as there will soon be a new policy written to prevent a similar situation from reoccurring. We have elected a new committee, many of whom I hold in great confidence will do a fantastic job.”

“We are all doing our best and sometimes people make mistakes. We are all friends and recognise we each hold strong opinions. Where here we couldn’t find a resolution, we turned to our members, constitution, and discussed it at our AGM. It wasn’t perfect, but this was an example of the process working and the Club is walking out stronger because of it,” he continued.