The REC Foundation Code of Conduct and Student-Centered Policy are designed to guide behaviors for participants at REC Foundation VIQRC, VRC, VAIRC, and VEX U events and provide a positive experience for event participants and volunteers. Violations of these policies are rare but are serious matters that should be investigated.
As the EP, you have a vital role in this investigative process if you notice or are alerted to such violations by the Head Referee or other event participants. If you are not sure if something is or is not a violation, call your EEM/RSM and they can provide you with guidance. Below are a few recommendations to communicate these policies at your event.
- Go over our Code of Conduct and Student-Centered Policy in your Event Meeting. This information is included in the Event Meeting Announcement document. Ask anyone who has any questions about these policies to come see you. Educating people to prevent violations from happening in the first place is the best outcome.
- If an issue should arise, discuss it with those involved off to the side or in a hallway—someplace quiet, not in public view on or near a playing field. Raising voices to be heard over the sounds of competition can be misinterpreted as aggression, and having an argument in public can make people feel embarrassed, which in turn can make them more defensive.
- Work first to educate before escalating to your EEM/RSM for potential sanctions or misconduct violations.
- People can become passionate and lose awareness of how their behavior impacts others. They may not be doing something with the overt intention of violating rules.
- By giving teams a warning about behavior, you make it abundantly clear what the expectations are from teams at the event; for teams that do not mean to act maliciously, this warning will be enough to solve the issue.
Game Manual Rules: G1 & G2
The Game Manuals reference the REC Foundation Code of Conduct and Student-Centered Policies in Rules G1 and G2, respectively. Violations of the REC Foundation Code of Conduct and/or Student-Centered Policy may involve additional escalation beyond the Head Referee's initial ruling, including (but not limited to) investigation by a REC Foundation representative during or after the event.
Reporting a Violation
If a Code of Conduct or Student-Centered violation occurs at your event, please contact your EEM/RSM, and begin gathering information that will only be shared with the REC Foundation staff:
- Pictures or videos of the violation at the event. Try to include team numbers to identify the team or the individual in question. This applies only to Code of Conduct and student-centered issues. Videos or pictures related to Head Referee rulings are not permitted per the Game Manual rules.
- Witnesses of the violation and their contact information.
- A written account of what transpired. Request that witnesses send you an email with their detailed observations as soon as possible or take written notes of their statement.
- Any additional evidence that may inform the REC Foundation of the situation.
This information needs to be communicated to the EEM/RSM in a timely manner so they may start an investigation.
Benefit of the Doubt
All teams need to be given the initial benefit of the doubt until the REC Foundation can review the evidence presented and reach out to those teams. Investigating violations based on hearsay is difficult and they should be carefully considered before reporting. For instance, an email making a claim that a team has adults working on the team’s robot at a competition may not be actionable unless there are videos, photos, or verified witness statements of that happening. Unfounded accusations are discouraging to teams that are accused and do a disservice to the integrity of our enforcement process. Actions should never be taken against a team without corroborated evidence.
If you warn a team about their behavior, even if they corrected their behavior at your event, please make a note of their team number and discuss it with your EEM/RSM. Teams that make violations of the same type repeatedly at different events, even after their behavior was previously addressed, may still be issued a sanction for violating these policies. The REC Foundation depends on our EPs to alert us to this negative behavior, and to try to correct these issues on an event level.
Remember, it is always a better experience for all parties involved if violators are given an opportunity to correct their behavior rather being penalized; however, with egregious or repeated violations of our policies, sanctions for those violations can be issued if warranted.