Inclusiveness in VEX Competitions

As many of you may have seen, there was an article published last week about some horrific behavior, including some racially charged comments, endured by a VEX IQ Challenge team at a local competition. While the incident was not observed by the team coach/mentor, or reported to any officials at the REC Foundation or VEX Robotics, we quickly became aware of the situation within an hour of the story being published. Since then, REC Foundation officials have been investigating the serious matter.

VEX Competitions embrace children of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds and countries of origin. It is through diversity and collaboration that together we will solve tomorrow’s biggest problems.

We’d like to take this time to reiterate that VEX Robotics and the REC Foundation have a zero tolerance policy against racism, or any other acts of prejudice or disrespect from students, faculty or their families. This is specifically outlined in rule G16 in the VIQC Game Manual, and G17 of the VRC Game Manual, and should be stressed to the hosts of any VEX Competition.

To summarize both rules…

Please know that we are always trying to ensure that our programs are as inclusive as possible. We hope you enjoy being a part of the VEX community regardless of your race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation. If you ever have any concerns, or witness an incident that runs contrary to our code of conduct, please immediately contact your event partner, your REC Foundation Regional Support Manager, or e-mail "forumsupport@vexrobotics.com" so that we can start a constructive discussion.

On behalf of everyone at VEX Robotics and the REC Foundation, we appreciate the time, energy and passion you put into our competitions, and we will continue to do what is necessary to foster an open and accepting environment for all attendees at the 1,300+ events that take place every year.

2 Likes

It’s sad when things like this are associated with vex :frowning:
Especially since almost everyone involved with the program knows that that doesn’t usually happen.

With the scale of VEX, you simply cannot avoid isolated incidents like this. I think we can agree that the RECF and VEX are extremely inclusive as organizations, and that generally carries over to the local levels.

I don’t see how talented young engineers of any race are “ruining this country,” personally I see it as quite the opposite, but hatred doesn’t operate logically.

I’m glad to see these kids are taking it in stride. What makes you want to win more than people saying you can’t, or shouldn’t? Too bad VIQ is at a separate time, I’d like to meet these kids now. The only way we can, as a global community, cast out intolerance is to meet it with love and support for our minority communities.

I’m from Indiana, this pains me to see this behavior from other Hoosiers. It’s unacceptable.

Where did this happen at? Even in South Carolina we have incredibly diverse teams. Almost every team has at least one person with a different heritage.

According to the article the comp was at Plainfield High School in Indiana.

Karthik… Well said. We are Mississippi team and try to make sure that we represent everyone in a positive way. In our organization, we have 9 languages spoken. We take pride in the fact that VEX represents ALL cultures and so forth. It is unfortunate that this happened, but in an organization as large as VEX there will always be a small percentage that cause trouble. It happens everywhere. It is up to the rest of the members of VEX to stand up and represent the good behaviors and attitudes that we exemplify.
VEX is the BEST training for life!
7536 Coach

A shame to see that hatred, prejudice, and racism manage to get in everywhere. I’m sure we are all disappointed to hear about this; not only that, but incidents like this make a bad name for all of us. This is supposed to be a professional environment. As a competitive game, it is understood that there will be some banter here and there, but it should never result to the childishness of racism and prejudice. Regardless of who did it, I think that we should all make a conscious effort to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. If you see or hear behavior like this, like @Karthik said, report it to the event partner. Even if you have to stand up for someone else, we as STEM students need to show people that we will not stand for the hateful message of racism and intolerance. Robotics events are a place for people of all walks of life to have a friendly competition of the robots they have engineered and built. We must never allow this to infect our community.

In the article, there was a ton of wrong that people said, but there’s this bit that really makes me mad…

This quote almost perfectly matches the definition of racist. This is extremely wrong and unjust to say.
In my personal opinion, when they go to nationals or worlds, why don’t you give them a shout out for their integrity, compassion, and maturity that they had. Those students should be the example of what a VEX Robotics team and a future engineer should look like.