CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN BERNARDINO
CSUSB RECREATIONAL SPORTS
LIABILITY RELEASE PROCEDURE
Sports and recreation by nature involve high risks. Recreation managers across the country, and especially in California, use waivers as a tool to transfer and reduce their exposure to risk. The passage of the recent student referendum increases both the financial risk and the exposure to risk for the CSUSB Recreational Sports Department, thus making it necessary for Recreational Sports to implement additional procedures, such as a waiver, to reduce or transfer risk.
Waivers and assumption of risk forms have been used for many years in a variety of circumstances. In our increasingly litigious society, these forms are almost always used in recreational sports settings, including most other recreation programs in the CSU system and by all of them that have passed referendums to build recreation centers. Additionally, CSUSB has been sued more frequently in the past few years.
The use of waivers can help protect the financial integrity of recreational programs. However, there are those who say that a waiver is not worth the paper it is written on. The Associate Director of Risk Management for the CSU system stated in communication with CSUSB's Risk Manager that "although waivers have often been viewed by some as not effective, it has been found that due especially to extreme sports and most importantly, if the waivers are specific to the event information and the risks that may be encountered in the event, the courts are upholding them more frequently."
REDUCE OR TRANSFER OF RISK
While a waiver is an important document to reduce risk, it should not be relied upon solely to reduce the exposure to risk. In addition to the use of a waiver, Recreational Sports will complete the following tasks to reduce or transfer risk:
- Frequently inspect facilities and equipment for safety hazards.
- Train staff in emergency response procedures, including CPR and first aid certification, and on how to properly use facilities and equipment.
- Develop and enforce policies and procedures that minimize risk and lead to the safety and enjoyment of others
- Design programs that reflect the relevant safety standards of the given activity.
- Purchase liability insurance which names the University and Student Union as additionally insured.
REVIEWS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND APPROVALS
Before implementing any waiver or assumption of risk form, it is suggested that legal counsel examine and finalize any waiver used in a recreation program. The "CSUSB Recreational Sports Assumption of Risk, Waiver, and Release from Liability" form has been reviewed and recommended by the CSUSB Risk Management Committee. The campus' legal counsel reviewed and approved the document. Additionally, legal counsel for the Student Union reviewed the document and provided input. Finally, the CSU Systems Risk Management Office also stated that the use of a waiver is a commonly used tool to transfer risk.
The "CSUSB Recreational Sports Assumption of Risk, Waiver, and Release from Liability" form is intended to cover only those programs and activities provided by the Recreational Sports Department. This form is not intended to cover similar activities provided by other campus departments unless the event is co-sponsored by the Recreational Sports Department.
A concern was raised in regards to the word "negligence" in paragraph 5. "Negligence" was replaced by "acts, omissions" to reflect the wording used on other on-campus waivers. Legal counsel reviewed this change in the document and saw no problems as drafted.
Voluntary participation in CSUSB Recreational Sports programs and activities requires all users to read and sign the "CSUSB Recreational Sports Assumption of Risk, Waiver, and Release from Liability" form acknowledging that they will assume all risks involved in participating in CSUSB Recreational Sports programs.