It is hard to know the reasoning of the university. Their public statements and what they have told students in private appear to be entirely contradictory. The Vice Chancellor claimed in an email to me in January 2017 that infringement of intellectual property was his only concern, and on this basis demanded our closure under threat of legal action. This was a groundless charge and frankly nothing more than bullying, as our lawyers quickly showed.
They have not really come up with a better reason since. However, the same man specified “this kind of nudity” as the problem in an off the record meeting with leaders of the boat club. Draw your own conclusions...
The university has refused subsequent requests for clarification of their reasoning under our Freedom of Information legislation. This is now the subject of a legal challenge.
Meanwhile, all attempts to find a way to support their rowing rogramme have failed, so all of us working on the calendar have refocused as a team (rowers and production team) on supporting Sport Allies.
The university offered all of us, including our lawyers, assurances that other funding streams were in the pipeline to sustain the club, specifically with a charitable trust to be chaired by a former Chancellor of the university. When I met with the Chancellor in question many months later to discuss the situation, he had not heard of this plan.
So I am unable to clarify how the club can be supported, but I am given to understand that the current club president, following meetings with the university, has prohibited members of the boat club from taking part in the calendar project.
For me, this is both tragic and exasperating, and it very much marks the end for those of us who have fought the university for nearly three years to ensure continuing support for the club. We feel we have done everything we can, and that we can no longer devote time or resources to pursuing the interests of UWBC. I have discussed this with senior figures in rowing, including an Olympic alumnus of Warwick University, and all agree that the club no longer deserves our support.
The club is definitely in a difficult position. They accepted the universty’s assurances of alternative funding which encouraged them to abandon the calendar - their key source of funding that had given £150,000 to the club in cash support. The club is now entirely reliant on the universty’s good will, which is unfortunate; it is widely perceived that Warwick University does not see the value in its rowing Programme that other, similar-ranking universities do.