USA Fencing Board Notes – New ED?

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USA Fencing

USA Fencing

The public portion of the 8/21/13 Board of Directors meeting was several hours long, here are some of the highlights:

EDITORS NOTE: This article originally reported that Kris Ekeren was named the interim ED. That was not the case as her name was advanced as a recommendation for the interim slot by USA Fencing President Don Anthony. We regret any confusion this may have caused. CH

Regarding the question of Executive Director: Val Belmonte will be moving to be President and CEO of an organization that serves children with autism and similar disabilities, and he mentioned having a grandchild with autism. Don Anthony suggested that Kris Ekeren be named as the interim Executive Director, but there was not further discussion on the ED position or a motion or vote by the Board. The January NAC will likely be in Virginia Beach. JOs and SNs both have two competing bids, Val hopes this will be finalized soon. There was some heated discussion of Motion 1, which stated:

1. Motion (Mr. Mattern): Effective with the 2013-2014 season, officers of the board shall hold no other positions within the volunteer governance structure of USA Fencing, except as required by the By-Laws. Any necessary changes to appointments within the volunteer governance structure of USA Fencing shall take place immediately.

USA Fencing Treasurer Sam Cheris, who is also Chairman of the Fencing Officials Commission and President of the FIE Legal Commission, strenuously objected. Don Anthony, the only other officer of the board argued in favor of postponing action on the motion but distanced himself from what he termed “the inflammatory rhetoric” of Sam Cheris. After contentious debate, the motion was eventually postponed until the September in-person meeting to be held in Chicago. FIE Sabre Glove Requirements Tabled: Motions 2 and 3 would have each required USA Fencing follow the newly adopted FIE rule which requires 800 newton sabre gloves at competition. Motion 2 was referred to the Equipment Technology Committee and the Fencing Officials Commission. Motion 3 was withdrawn because it was very similar to Motion 2. The Conflict of Interest Policy was adopted. Safesport Discussion Kris Ekern and Jim Neale each spoke at length about the Safesport policy and its effects. There are currently 212 member clubs with an additional 50 going through the process of approval, compared to 305 this time last year. Individual members are similarly down from this time last year. There were some suggestions as to how to make the Safesport policy better. Kris and staff recommend that for the 2014-2015 season, background screens should be a purchased separately from memberships via RailStation. A ref, armorer, or bout committee member must have had a background check within the last two years – those who paid for a background check last year and paid again this year for another background check can talk to Kris/other staff to coordinate a refund. If foreign officials can provide Global Entry, Nexus, or an equivalent document, they will not need a USA Fencing background check. Legal Counsel Jim Neale said the guidelines in section 7 aren’t offenses that merit mandatory reporting. The reportable offenses are things that fall under the 6 major categories (Child sexual abuse, Sexual misconduct, Emotional misconduct, Physical misconduct, Bullying, Harassment, and Hazing). The guidelines are in place to protect the professional members from allegations and controversy. The insurance company provided specific input about who will be required to have a background check. Refs, Armorers, and people running the Bout Committee or Assigning will all need to get screened. There was a suggestion that runners, people helping with setup, etc, will not need to be screened. A full recording has been posted by an anonymous user of the Forum for those who would like the finer details, but were unable to listen live: Part 1: Part 1 Link Part 2: Part 2 Link Part 3: Part 3 Link Post written by Ashley Hatfield. Ashley runs her own blog at

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