Dear ODs

 

I wish to inform members of the recent developments at the ODU.

 

Strategy

 

In the first instance, your ODU Committee is currently revisiting our objectives in order to see if they are relevant and useful in the contemporary and modern world. Many other alumni organisations have undergone a similar exercise. It has become clear that whilst we have an intuitive understanding of who we are and what we do, we are not convinced it is a shared understanding or whether it meets the expectations of ODs today.

 

Of the other alumni organisations that have conducted such an exercise, in the UK, Upingham have developed “Upingham for Life” whilst Wellington College promote a similar theme; that of assisting old boys. Our idea is “ODs support ODs”.

 

I will be providing more information regarding this program in the coming months. If you would like to be part of this initiative, please contact myself Brian Robertson at brian@saige.co.za

 

Restructuring

 

It has also become necessary to review the structures which service the union. We have been engaged in a process of redefining the role and function of the Union’s Secretariat. It is clear that the job demands a number of further skills requirements to be added to the job description. To serve the modern needs of our organisation, the function requires advanced knowledge of social media, databases, basic accounting skills and general office management.

 

In terms of our obligations I have been in a process of consulting with the current Secretary Carolyn Hamilton-Smith regarding this restructuring process. As soon as the process is completed I will notify ODs of any possible changes.

 

I want to emphasize that the abovementioned strategy has been in process for some time and prior to us receiving information regarding an article that may appear in “Noseweek” magazine. This brings me to the second point.

 

For the Record

 

The school authorities have been contacted by the editor of “Noseweek”, Martin Weltz who is planning to publish a story relating to the ODU Committee’s handling of an incident some 18 months ago.

 

Information was supplied to Noseweek via an anonymous source, much of which appears to have originated from the ODU offices. We have seen a draft of the article and I would not want any member of the OD community to conclude that any actions currently underway by the Committee are, in any way, a reaction to this article. We have already received and responded to correspondence from attorneys dealing with this matter and have made our position clear. It is a serious matter and one about which we have been in close communication with the school authorities. There are ODs and former staff involved and it is obviously a sensitive issue. I do not wish to use this medium to repeat the Committee’s views on the matter but merely to inform ODs of the pending article and to stress that, to us, this is nothing new nor is it something that is in any way guiding or affecting our current actions.

 

Both Bishops and the ODU believe without qualification that pupils are entitled to expect a safe and nurturing environment while in the care of the School. There are policies and processes in place to ensure that any abuse, while it can never be eradicated completely, is acted upon appropriately whenever the School becomes aware of such breaches. Not only must the School have these policies in place, it must be seen to be enforcing them and enforcing them in the best interests of the pupils. The Committee and I are satisfied that Bishops currently has these policies and enforces them.

 

ODs reading the Noseweek article will draw their own conclusions as to whether the allegations made in the article are true, and also whether the School and the ODU have acted correctly. We believe we have while at the same time regretting that this issue has been publically aired in the way that it has. No one is a winner. We are confident that although the past cannot be changed, the experience will help prevent these matters happening in the future and if they should that we deal with them quickly and decisively and in doing so uphold the good reputation and values of Bishops and her old boys.

 

Should you require any further information, I can be contacted at brian@saige.co.za

 

Yours faithfully

 

Brian Robertson
Chairman ODU Committee