The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation considers the positive, respectful, and ethical conduct of all students, teachers, mentors, parents, and other event attendees an important and essential component of all REC Foundation-sanctioned events. The REC Foundation Code of Conduct describes the expectations for the behavior of all event participants. Additionally, all REC Foundation programs mandate that adults should not provide an unfair competitive advantage by having students use designs, programs, and game strategies that are inconsistent with the students’ ability and knowledge base. The REC Foundation Student-Centered Policy provides guidelines to help coaches, teams, and parents ensure that students are actively involved in learning opportunities and have ownership of how their robot is designed, built, programmed, and utilized in gameplay with other teams and in standalone matches.
If event attendees have concerns about a team’s conduct or student-centeredness, they are encouraged to bring those concerns to the attention of the Event Partner (also called the EP; the volunteer who serves as the overall organizer of an event). Event Partners have the responsibility and authority, working in partnership with the Judge Advisor (JA) and Head Referee (HR), to make decisions that protect the integrity of the event and its participants. All events–regardless of the size or region–share a set of guidelines for how EPs, JAs, and HRs work together with the REC Foundation to address potential violations of rule G1 (Code of Conduct) or G2 (Student Centered Policy) at an event. This article briefly describes the steps of that process.
The Event Meeting will include some information about the Code of Conduct, Student-Centered Policy, and related key rules.
- The Code of Conduct, Student-Centered Policy, and rules G1 and G2 apply to everyone, not just students on the team.
- Individuals, event participants, and event staff who observe disrespectful or uncivil behavior should report information along with any photo/video evidence to the Event Partner immediately.
- Rule T3 outlines that only the drive team members may contest a referee’s ruling; adults are not permitted to intervene.
When Potential Rule G1 and/or G2 Violations are Observed
- Individuals, event participants, and event staff who observe disrespectful or uncivil behavior should report information along with any photo/video evidence to the Event Partner, Head Referee, or Judge Advisor immediately.
- The Field Note to Judges form will be completed and the Judging team will take this information into consideration when determining judged awards.
- The Event Partner, Head Referee, and Judge Advisor will speak to the team coach/mentor as soon as possible. This meeting should take place away from students and parents.
- The Event Partner will explain what actions were reported and remind the coach/mentor that by definition, violations of Rule G1 and/or G2 can be considered Match Affecting (VRC & VEX U) or Score Affecting (VIQRC).
- The Event Partner will remind the coach/mentor that repeated violations of Rule G1 and/or G2 can result in the team being disqualified from current or upcoming matches, and potentially the entire event.
- The Event Partner will remind the coach/mentor that Rule G1 and/or G2 violations can impact a team’s eligibility for awards.
- The Event Partner will inform the coach/mentor that the REC Foundation will be notified of a Rule G1 and/or G2 violation.
- The Event Partner must notify their REC Foundation Manager of the situation and track the incident on the G1 and/or G2 Violation Team Tracking Report.
- The Head Referee will issue a Minor or Major Violation to the team as appropriate.
If G1 and/or G2 Violations are Repeatedly Observed
- The Event Partner, Head Referee, and Judge Advisor will convene and make a recommendation for a Major Violation and potentially an official event Disqualification.
- The Event Partner must speak with their REC Foundation Manager to determine appropriate action.
- The Event Partner, with REC Foundation support, can choose whether or not to allow the team in question to continue into Alliance Selection, Eliminations, Finals, or the event itself.
- Every attempt will be made to allow the team in question to finish qualification matches in the best interest of their alliance partners.
- The Event Partner will provide an update to the Head Referee and Judge Advisor regarding the discussion with the REC Foundation.
- When a decision has been made, the Event Partner, Head Referee, and Judge Advisor will speak to the team coach/mentor and provide an update to the situation and what course of action will be taken.
- If the team receives an event Disqualification, their skills scores for the event will be deleted and will not be reflected on the World Skills Scoreboard.
- Involved parties will continue adding any additional observations to the G1 and/or G2 Violation Team Tracking Report.
Ultimately, safety of students and everyone in attendance is the top priority. An Event Partner will not put anyone at risk by allowing a team to participate through qualification matches who may be displaying physically threatening or verbally abusive behaviors.
After the Event
- The Event Partner will submit the G1 and/or G2 Team Tracking Report, regardless of final ruling, to their REC Foundation Manager.
Note: In cases where an Event Partner is unavailable or there is an issue with teams affiliated with an Event Partner, the REC Foundation Event Engagement Manager/Regional Support Manager or Team Engagement Manager will be contacted.
All Code of Conduct reports and investigations are confidential, and the outcome of any report will not be shared with the reporter.