Today three of our teams went to the Central Ontario Vex Robotics Qualifying Event. In QF3-1 we had two teams 1104S and 1104X on the red alliance.
During QF3-1 there was some trapping from both alliances, our alliance attempted to draw the head referees attention to what they believed was trapping. We are not here to discuss any rulings though. What mainly concerns us is the behavior of one of the Event Partners. In the video we have linked, you can see the red alliance trying to get the attention of the head referee over the ambient noise by yelling “HEY!” (this happens at 2:16). This is then escalated by the event partner barging in during the driver control portion of the match and yelling “Tone it down now! Do not yell at the refs like that! Do not yell at the ref like that ever!” directly at the same team member that initially yelled “HEY!” (this happens at 2:18).
In addition, the person that yelled “HEY!” was told by the referee to “yell at him in order to grab his attention” if there was anything deserving of his attention during the match rather than after (this was communicated earlier).
After this match a few of the parents of the drivers tried talking with the Ontario Representative about what just happened, The Ontario Representative did not want to talk about and was actively walking away from the conversation. One parent had a phone with the match video and asked the Ontario Representative to look at the video to show him the yelling that occurred. The Ontario Representative replied that they do not look at videos as it is against the rules. This made one of the parents ask him if it were appropriate for an Event Partner to scream at 15-year-old kids in the middle of a match, the Ontario Representative replied with “Yes since he is an event organizer, he can protect his people”. The Ontario Representative then proceeded to say “I don’t want to deal with this” and walked away from the conversation.
From the 2:00 mark you can see the Ontario Representative standing right next to the event partner. As soon as our leadership heard about this incident we immediately contacted the Ontario Representative to hear his side of the story. The Ontario Representative stated his opinion and actively defended that it was an appropriate action in these circumstances.
How can teams be expected to adhere to the code of conduct and G1, if event organizers and regional representatives aren’t held to the same standard? Our teams have been long-time participants in the VEX programs and we truly believe in the mission of the RECF. It’s heartbreaking for us to see adults run afoul of the rules without any sort of repercussions.
We do not care about the outcome of the event, we care about the unprofessional behavior that we have encountered. We understand that these events are stressful to run, but event partners should have no right to ever yell, demean, or abuse any student in a way that is seen in these videos.
We also have 2 other nearly identical videos from slightly different perspectives which can be seen here:
We also have a statement directly from the team member who yelled “HEY!”:
“It was my intention for yelling “hey” at the 2:16 mark as an act of raising my voice to grab the attention of the referee. I meant no means of threatening or present a disrespectful manner towards him. In the G1 rule, it states that “if the team or any of its members are disrespectful or uncivil to event staff, etc…” we could be disqualified which I understand. However, under my impression of this incident the guy yelling was more at fault for being uncivil to EVENT PARTICIPANTS as he was setting a poor example for others. As stated in the G1 rule, we should learn to “handle these situations in a positive and productive manner” me yelling is acting productively as the referee informed us previously that if anything were to be illegal we should yell at him IN ORDER TO GET HIS ATTENTION as the event is very loud and he is unable to hear us.” - Kevin
These are just the facts and the backstory, We strongly believe that this should be escalated and nobody should have to go through this.