Bedding in one of the participants' rooms was damaged by fire and was judged to have been started by a cigarette. The damage was assessed by the University at roughly £90 and the BMC was billed for this sum. The conference secretary wrote twice to the person involved but received no reply on either occasion. We felt that neither the University of East Anglia nor the Mathematics School there could be expected to meet this cost. So we have approved payment in the meantime from the BMC reserve fund. However, it would seem reasonable for a smoker who caused fire damage to contribute towards the cost. We would ask the committee to consider writing an official letter to this effect. Dr Camina can supply a name and address.
We do not know what insurance arrangements are made in general by Universities in regard to accidental damage by conference participants. If the sum involved in this case had been more substantial, East Anglia had not had cover, and the BMC rather than the individual had been held responsible, we should have faced a more serious situation. We recommend that the committee should try to find out what the actual position of conference organisers is in relation to this matter.
A D Sands (Hon Treasurer EMS)
J D M Wright (Hon Treasurer LMS)
6 February 1991.