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UPHA Members Voice Concerns and Search for Answers in SafeSport Forum

It was standing room only at the UPHA’s Safe Sport forum held during the recent UPHA National Conference, Palm Springs, California January 15-19, 2019. Safe Sport: An Open Forum was presented by the UPHA Governance Committee, moderated by its chair, Tammie Conatser, and UPHA Governance Committee member, Donna Pettry-Smith. During the forum, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions about SafeSport policies and procedures and express their concerns to the panelists which consisted of USEF General Counsel, Sonja Keating; USEF Chief Executive Officer, Bill Moroney; and US Center for SafeSport representative, Eric Barreras. The forum was approximately two and a half hours long and consisted of a fifteen-minute general introduction to SafeSport followed by questions from the audience. Multiple attendees asked multi-layered questions in attempt to clarify some of the more complex issues.

Some of these issues are outlined below, along with corresponding time references from the recording of the forum, posted on the UPHA website Please reference the video recording for more detailed information. 

 (1:16:02) and (2:12:16) Requirements regarding SafeSport training and USEF Membership:
-USEF Senior Competing Members must take SafeSport training. Individuals who wish to forego membership may compete by paying the Show Pass fee, provided they do not compete in amateur classes.
-USEF Show Passes will not be limited
-USEF Senior Competing Members that are going to be competing in Amateur classes must join USEF and take SafeSport training in order to obtain their Amateur card.

(2:22:40) Cost of SafeSport Training
SafeSport training is free to USEF members and will remain free in the future

(31:30) and (1:26:50) Constitutional or Civil Rights
Clarification regarding Constitutional or Civil rights, or lack thereof, as it pertains to the hearing process at USEF and/or The Center for SafeSport:
-USEF is considered a private organization so legally there is no depravation of civil rights as one’s rights do not attach to a private organization.
-A private entity is not bound to offer due process.
-USEF and The Center for SafeSport are operating on the civil side of the Justice System as opposed to the criminal side of the Justice System (civil rights apply in the Criminal Justice system)

(55:30) USEF Process versus US Center for SafeSport Process
-There is a difference between the USEF process and The Center for SafeSport process when an alleged code or rule violation has occurred. 
-USEF institutes fair notice and an opportunity for a hearing, by a hearing committee, before the Federation declares an individual ineligible to compete (see GR 601-617)
-US Center for SafeSport process: a single investigator will perform the investigation, evaluate findings, determine if a code violation has occurred based on a preponderance of the evidence, and recommend a sanction. The investigator’s work is reviewed by a single person, the Director of Investigations, who is the investigator’s immediate supervisor, and the Director’s decision is final unless appealed to an arbitrator. There is a fee for arbitration. 

(13:25) Jurisdiction
-US Center for SafeSport has exclusive jurisdiction for reports of sexual misconduct
-USEF has jurisdiction over reports of non-sexual misconduct such as bullying, harassment, hazing, emotional and physical abuse.

(2:19:08) USEF Board Representation
-Representation on USEF Boards and Councils are directly affected by the membership numbers of the breeds they are affiliated with.
-If the members of the Affiliates don’t join, we lose seats. 

(1:47:20) UPHA Rule Change Proposal Submitted to USEF Governance Committee
-The UPHA Governance Committee has submitted a rule change proposal, listed below, to the USEF Governance Committee for consideration in an attempt to relieve most classes of amateur exhibitors from the requirement of taking the SafeSport training. 

GR1303 Safe Sport Requirements
 c. Beginning January 1, 2019, Federation adult members (18 and over) falling under the category of “Coaches and Trainers” (adults who share responsibility for instructing, teaching, schooling, training or advising an athlete or horse in the context of equestrian sport) or “USEF Designees” (staff, licensed officials, board members and individuals USEF formally authorizes, approves or appoints (a) to a position of authority over, or (b) to have frequent contact with any athlete) shall complete Federation-approved Safe Sport Training in accordance with US Center for SafeSport’s Education & Training Policies

(2:31:30) Live SafeSport Training Session Offered
The American Morgan Horse Association is hosting a “live” SafeSport Training Session at the 2019 AMHA Annual Meeting and Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The session will take place from 2 – 4 p.m. local Central time on Wednesday, February 6 at the Hyatt Regency Country Resort and Spa. The “live” training can be completed in lieu of the online SafeSport training course and will satisfy the SafeSport training requirement for US Equestrian members. For more information please contact the AMHA Executive Director, Carrie J. Mortensen at

Click here to watch video Safe Sport: An Open Forum

Click here for USEF Safe Sport

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