Already, there have been several extremely credible allegations made by past employees against Tony Norman and other IFI employees. These go into great detail about specific examples of abuse, sexual harassment, and other blatant misconduct in the daily goings-on at the IFI office.
I was able to talk to a source (who wishes to remain anonymous) close to the IFI inner circle of executives, where the problems lay. Here is some of what they told me:
What is wild to me is that even RECF is tainted, and people do not understand the entanglements. Allegedly the reason two execs just quietly left was due to a secret affair. Now those two are supposedly running their own company and are hosting the inaugural signature event in Las Vegas, with support from guess who: Tony.
acceptance of misogyny is rampant among the exec level. An exec who just left was among the worst offenders. Would make outright passes at the young women in the office.
Tony was never around, but always had to be the decision maker.
I would hold Paul [Copioli], and every executive accountable, to an extent. Enough people knew where the issues stemmed from, but were unwilling to form a party to fix it, therefore complicit in allowing the environment to exist for harassment to thrive.
As the source explains, a former executive turned signature event partner, someone clearly endorsed by the REC Foundation, is themselves allegedly guilty of similar misconduct.
It is beyond clear that this is a systemic issue within IFI and RECF, and not something specific to a single individual.
The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation’s global mission is to provide every educator with competition, education, and workforce readiness programs to increase student engagement in science, technology, engineering, math, and computer science.
This is the REC Foundation’s mission statement.
@DanMantz, how can the RECF justify its continued partnership with VEX, given what we know to be true about conditions in and around IFI?
How does interns being “both verbally abused and threatened with violence, by Tony, while at work” serve to increase student engagement in STEM?
How does textbook quid-pro-quo workplace sexual harassment further the stated goals of the RECF to encourage girls “to try new things, and be a part of changing the definition of what a STEM expert looks like”?
How can the community continue to trust the REC Foundation to provide quality programs for students, given what we know to be true about the leadership in Greenville?
How can we have trust in the safety of students in and around RECF-sanctioned events?
How can the REC Foundation claim to be a force for good in the education and STEM communities when you are complicit in allowing - and sometimes active participants of - the culture of toxicity and abuse that has been so thoroughly documented by all the people here and on Chief Delphi courageous enough to come forwards?