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Procedures for Dealing with Volunteer Issues

Purposes

The purpose of the West Virginia University Extension Service procedures regarding volunteer issues are:

  1. To provide consistent notification to WVUES volunteers of consequences relative to inappropriate conduct;
  2. To provide assistance and guidance to WVUES faculty and staff members when dealing with misconduct of volunteers at WVU sponsored and WVUES authorized activities and events.


Misconduct Definitions

  • Major misconduct is defined as any flagrant violation of Policy 49, Children on Campus, WVU Policy 44, WVUES above Suspicion Policy, Best Money Management practices and/or other policies and procedures stipulated by West Virginia University, WVUES or felonious violation of state or federal law. The violation may cause physical or mental harm to a WVUES program participant, their parents and families, professionals and volunteers.
  • Minor misconduct is a violation that does not cause harm physically or mentally to a WVUES program participant, their parents and families, professionals and volunteers.


Procedures

These procedures apply to all WVUES units and volunteers serving with WVUES in WVU sponsored programs.

4-H Youth Development

  • 4-H volunteers, including camp staff, etc.,
  • Energy Express volunteers,
  • Any individual serving in any youth development capacity under the direction of this unit.

Family and Community Development

  • Fire Service Extension volunteers,
  • CEOS volunteers,
  • Any individual serving as a volunteer under the direction of this unit.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Master Gardener volunteers,
  • Any individual serving as a volunteer under the direction of this unit.

Jackson's Mill

  • Any volunteers serving in any area of WVU Jackson’s Mill, including the kitchen, on grounds, historic area, etc.


Minor Misconduct

  • After an issue is brought forward, the following procedures are in effect:
  • Specific program unit director and West Virginia University Extension Service dean/director are notified of the incident.
  • The youth protection and compliance specialist shall investigate the issue(s) and meet with the volunteer and county faculty member. Depending on the issue, the volunteer may be suspended until the investigation is completed.
  • An improvement plan is developed and implemented with a specified period of time given to the volunteer to complete the plan.
  • A letter is written to the volunteer with the faculty member, program unit director and West Virginia University Extension Service dean/director copied.
  • The next steps, if any, are determined by the volunteer’s compliance with the plan.
    • If the volunteer complies with the plan, the issue is deemed closed.
    • If the volunteer fails to comply, the volunteer is suspended until compliant.
    • The volunteer may be dismissed after 6 months if compliance is not received.


Major Misconduct

After an issue is brought forward, the following procedures are in effect:

  • The specific program unit director, WVUES dean/director and WVU Legal are notified of the incident. (If the issue is a Policy 44 violation, WVU Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are notified with all procedures of the U.S. Office of Civil Rights followed).
  • Depending on the severity of the situation either a suspension or dismissal letter is written by the youth protection and compliance specialist to the volunteer and approved by the program unit director, WVUES dean/director and WVU Legal before sending.
  • A letter is sent via certified mail to the volunteer specifying the violation(s).
  • If necessitated, the youth protection and compliance specialist will investigate the incident(s) in a timely manner and report the results of the investigation to the program unit director, WVUES dean/director and WVU Legal.
  • Based on the investigative findings, a panel to include the youth protection and compliance specialist, program unit director, WVUES dean/director and the Extension faculty member in place when/where the issue occurred or, if at a state event, the faculty member camp or event director will determine the follow-up measures.

These measures may include:

  • The volunteer may be reinstated with an improvement plan.
  • The volunteer will be contacted for a meeting to gather more information and facts.
  • In cases where merited, the youth protection and compliance specialist and program unit director will meet with the volunteer to disclose next steps or to gather more information and facts.
  • If an arrest or legal case is involved, the volunteer will be suspended until the case is deposed.
  • The WVUES dean/director will always be apprised of the situation.
  • If dismissal from the program is warranted, a letter will be written and mailed certified to the volunteer.
    • Copies of the dismissal will be sent to the faculty member in charge of the situation, the program unit director and WVUES dean/director.
    • If a follow-up meeting is requested, this will be initiated by dean/director's office. In attendance at the meeting will be the volunteer, youth protection and compliance specialist, program unit director and WVUES dean/director.
    • The WVUES dean/director in consultation with the youth protection and compliance specialist and program unit director will make the final determination of dismissal
  • The volunteer, as well as the faculty member in charge of the event, and WVU Legal, will be notified of the final decision.
  • If at any time, during this process, the volunteer states that an attorney has been secured, all communications between WVUES and the individual ceases, and the communication is between the legal representatives.

If the issue is a Policy 44 (Title IX) violation, WVU Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are notified by utilizing the Title IX reporting system.

  • Procedures as outlined by WVU Policy 44 will be strictly followed. A Title IX Investigator will investigate the incident.