Club stalled indefinitely

CrossFit Tricolour was finally ratified last May. Now, they’re back to square one

CrossFit Tricolour organizers Alex Wilson, Callum Owen and Storm Patterson (pictured left to right) were forced to suspend operations on Dec. 4, after running official group workouts since the summer.
CrossFit Tricolour organizers Alex Wilson, Callum Owen and Storm Patterson (pictured left to right) were forced to suspend operations on Dec. 4, after running official group workouts since the summer.
CrossFit Tricolour was initially sanctioned as a recreational club in May 2013.
CrossFit Tricolour was initially sanctioned as a recreational club in May 2013.

Only seven months after being sanctioned by Athletics and Recreation, CrossFit Tricolour has hit another standstill.

The student club was forced to suspend operations indefinitely on Dec. 4, after learning they had been classified as a “for-profit” organization and could no longer be insured under University policy. Forty-three days later, the situation has yet to be resolved.

CrossFit Tricolour was initially ratified as a recreational club in May after months of discussions with Athletics and Recreation. They’ve been running group workouts in the ARC and MacGillivray-Brown Hall since the summer.

Club founders Callum Owen, Storm Patterson and Alex Wilson said they don’t derive any profit from the operation.

“We think we’ve been … one of the highest revenue-generating clubs in Queen’s history, if not the highest,” said Owen, PheKin ‘15. “That’s revenue that totally goes back into reinvesting in club equipment and to better the member experience.”

Owen said the group has over $50,000 worth of workout equipment stored in MacGillivray-Brown, and that problems arose in the fall when the organizers sought to insure it.

“If you go in there right now and you steal it all, or you burn it all or damage it, whatever you do, none of it is covered under the ARC’s insurance policy,” he said. “We thought, ‘that’s ridiculous’ — that’s the entire year’s worth wasted if we don’t look into a way to better protect that.”

The organizers said they initially met with Athletics and Recreation and members of the University’s Human Resources department in mid-November to discuss insurance. Patterson characterized the meeting as an “interrogation” about several different issues, including equipment ownership and member liability.

“If they were, in fact, reasonable questions for the ARC to ask, they should have addressed before they ever sanctioned us,” Owen said.

“We’re in a position where we haven’t been re-granted our club status based on what we think is an unfair prejudice against our operation.”

Owen said the organizers received an email from Catherine Hagerman from the University’s Human Resources office on Nov. 27, informing them of their for-profit classification and demanding they cease operations. On Dec. 2, according to Owen, Athletics and Recreation emailed them a similar notice, saying CrossFit Tricolour would be forced to suspend operations within 48 hours. All three parties next met on Dec. 11, at which point the University put forth a list of 11 concerns that CrossFit was expected to resolve, including the nature of their affiliation with CrossFit, Inc.

The club’s current affiliation agreement is signed in Owen’s name, but according to the organizers, the University is seeking to have the affiliation go through Queen’s.

Owen said CrossFit Tricolour has completed all the requests, with the exception of changing the affiliation, as an individual with their level one CrossFit certification must sign the agreement.

He said a solution to this issue could come through changing the club’s name and removing any reference to CrossFit.

“We don’t actually have to use the CrossFit name to do these workouts,” Owen said. “If worst comes to worst, we can call ourselves the Queen’s Fitness Club, the Queen’s Exercise Team, the Queen’s We Love to Do High-Intensity Physical Activity. It doesn’t matter.”

According to Owen, he was told this wasn’t a viable option after presenting it to Athletics and Recreation.

In an interview with the Journal, Associate Director of Athletics, Business Development and Facilities Jeff Downie said Athletics and Recreation is opposed to CrossFit Tricolour going by a different name because of CrossFit’s overall brand.

“CrossFit … wouldn’t agree with [changing the name],” Downie said. “They don’t want you running CrossFit style activities under a different name. They’ve got a brand and a licensing agreement.”

Downie said Athletics and Recreation’s issue with CrossFit Tricolour doesn’t come from the activity itself, but in setting up a suitable framework heading forward.

“The club framework is very much about students starting an activity when they’re here, setting up succession planning, and a program that can be passed along to other students,” he said. “These guys have struggled with what they want it to be.”

Downie said Athletics and Recreation is hoping to ensure that CrossFit Tricolour is operating as a club and not as a business on campus by clarifying several issues affecting the club.

In regards to the major issue of affiliation, Downie said he thinks an agreement can be reached with CrossFit.

“The agreement actually alludes to a university affiliate,” he said, “so I’m sure there’s a version of that agreement that can be University-owned.”

With the suspension of operations still going on, the CrossFit Tricolour organizers have reached out to others about the situation, including Principal Daniel Woolf.

On Monday, Woolf tweeted, “I am in receipt of correspondence on this matter, and will review with Athletics and Recreation.”

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