In Regards to VEXU Team BCUZ

Hi all,

Many of you have probably met us at one point in time, though Leeanna officially left BCUZ in 2020. After Jenna officially quit just earlier today, we have decided to step up to publicly address the toxic dynamics we’ve both experienced in our time on the team in an effort to finally bring this situation (or it would be better to call it, these situations) to light.

For both of us, robotics has been a major aspect of our lives and identities-- we have both competed since high school to high acclaim, and were very much looking forward to continuing our careers during college. In fact, the team’s existence was a deciding point in our colleges of choice. Once we had actually started at Clemson, though, our experiences unfortunately fell short of our previously high expectations.

While strikingly similar, the incidents that had occurred between the two of us still somewhat differ; with this, for readability purposes, the below will be split according to our individual histories with BCUZ. These are also chronologically ordered, with Leeanna’s experiences spanning between 2018 and 2020, and Jenna’s between 2020 and 2023.


Background and Origins

I graduated from high school in 2018 and joined BCUZ the year the team was founded (May 2018). I have been ever so grateful for my robotics experience and the relationships I have made hold a high value in my life. I was so excited to continue my robotics passion in college and even more excited to have a group of friends. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I was pushed from the team and the community by members of BCUZ. Despite expressing concerns to university officials and team officers, nothing was done.

To provide some context: while in highschool, I competed in FTC, FRC, and VRC. My highschool moved from FTC to VRC my senior year (In The Zone). I started competing in 2014 and I have competed well in all leagues but winning was not all to me. For me, the relationships built and the overall problem solving aspect of competing mattered much more. My VRC team did not compete until late February during the ITZ season, but we did well considering our late start. Overall, we gained respect quickly in the South Carolina community. I did not compete against any member of BCUZ in FTC, FRC, or VRC-- this introduced an immediate decision that I was lesser, being that I had never “proved myself”. My experiences with FIRST immediately left a bad impression on members of the team. They often degraded my awards and experiences. Early on in my competitive career on BCUZ, I was told, “Let me handle it. You’re better at FIRST. I am better at VEX’', despite my skills being directly transferable. This caught me off guard very early on, little did I know this interaction would foreshadow the next two and a half years of constant discouragement.

My negative experiences started very early on. I recall having been asked when I first started competing on the team what my parents do for a living; since the time I responded, I was labeled as “poor” or “charity” whenever money was involved in the conversation. I asked once if the President of BCUZ at the time really thought I was lesser and stupid, to which he responded “Yes, I absolutely do”. When I tried to express to a teammate that this comment upset me, I was told “Don’t ask things you don’t want the answer to”. Obviously, this comment took me back. How could not one, but two of my team members be that openly neglectful of my feelings? I share this to emphasize the environment was toxic from the start-- I was a target. My teammates constantly backed their derogatory statements up with one another to avoid becoming the targets themselves, but no one was safe. These comments happened constantly, I just happened to be the one to catch the heat most often.

Often when members were not present, other teammates would openly talk negatively about the missing member, with many of these topics involving how they were not respected as a member of the team or a competitor overall. I was constantly told my achievements were not my own, but rather ones I just took credit for. When I would build, things would instantly get taken apart and rebuilt (in the same way) because they “didn’t trust” me. There were constant sexist remarks about how women are bad drivers, women are biologically less intelligent, and should “stay in their place”. Early on, I was speaking with another teammate about co-ed versus all-female versus all-male team performance, and ended up being told that teams composed of all male members will always champion the rest. When I disagreed, I was told to “fact-check” myself and my opinion was invalidated.

Experiences During Turning Point

Exclusion and Corrosion

Some of my main roles on the team were strategy, social media, and building. I was asked to draw autonomous routes and skills routes; however, when I presented these routes, my teammates did not ever look at them. Instead, they would complain about how they had no ideas for routes and complain that I didn’t do anything. Very few of my efforts and contributions to the team were ever viewed. This further invalidated my qualities and what I stand for as a competitor. I felt discouraged and not valued, but I kept quiet and stayed in my place. I figured overall, the argument was not worth the fuss, and I was aware that in the end I would be outnumbered.

Around early Fall 2018, I was involved in a car wreck due to no fault of my own. I had sustained a brain injury that barred me from drinking (at this time, I was also underage)-- even then, I was pressured to drink to bond with the team. Before the 2019 Worlds Championship, older members (current officers at that time, who were both of-age upperclassmen) pressured another (underaged) member and I to transport alcohol from South Carolina to Kentucky. I expressed concern, after which I was belittled. I was frequently called a “buzzkill” and a “stick in the mud”. I very much felt as if the team would respect me if I did agree to do as they ask, and because I did not I dealt with backlash. When other team members would mention alcohol, I was told to close my ears as if I was a child. This pushed me further away from the team and made me feel as if I was not allowed to have a voice. I was constantly picked on and called out for my sobriety while actively being underage and medically barred.

During Spring Break 2019, we met up with another team for a scrimmage. Although my teammates had allowed me to come along, I was later told that they “didn’t even know why I was there”. I was asked to not touch the robots, despite being a builder, and was told my presence was distracting, even at times where I remained quiet and distanced from the rest of BCUZ. I was confused by this and did not fully understand why they’d “allow” me to come but then in turn make my entire existence a problem.

At Turning Point Worlds, our robots’ controllers were left at our Airbnb and I offered to drive back to get them-- while leaving, my teammates sent me off by saying “don’t wreck the car”. In the months after my initial wreck (and onwards), I expressed how I did not appreciate those jokes, but continued to receive them nonetheless. When I returned from my errand, I was belittled for taking too long despite having to detour for a parade in an unknown city and still getting back before our first match. This further validated my feeling of constantly not being good enough no matter what I did.

Later during this event, I was scouting and obtained videos of the team we were facing from another team-- I was eager to show my teammates. When I approached my teammates with these videos, my teammates again refrained from viewing them in the same manner as when I presented them with the autonomous and skills routes. I was told specifically by another competitor to watch the autonomous line as the team had consistently (barely) crossed the line during autonomous that day. I tried to deliver this information to the team, but no one wanted to hear me out. We ended up losing the match and I mentioned what I was told about the autonomous line, to which my team replied that the loss was my fault because I did not share the information. Despite my best efforts to aid the team, no one would listen. Even as a drive coach, I was directed to stand behind the drivers and not speak, as I was told that I would trigger frustration if I spoke during a match.

For our competitions, I was the one in charge of packing our large rolling case as I was the only one that consistently made everything fit. Upon packing to leave TP Worlds, I was asked to leave the pit because my presence “annoyed” one of our team members. For this reason, while leaving, I was not able to check behind the rest of the team to make sure nothing was left. When we arrived back in Clemson, we discovered we were missing two field walls-- I was then told that maybe if I had packed, that wouldn’t have happened. I was astonished and actually laughed at being told this, but I quickly realized they were not joking. Throughout all of my time on the team, up to this point and onwards, the environment has been characterized by constant gaslighting with me being discouraged from even socializing with other competitors or my own teammates.

Tower Takeover

G1, Auburn, and Personal Reputation

During the beginning of the Tower Takeover season, one of our builders started involving people outside the program in our team’s design choices. I would be contacted by some of these individuals in regards to the robot I was supposed to be co-designing; they would ask about features already on the robot I did not know existed in the first place. The outside individuals had more input on the design of our robots than many members on BCUZ, including myself, had. Around this time was when roles in the server started to change as well-- specifically, I noticed the creation of hidden channels that only certain members were allowed to see. Ultimately, this appeared as a way to gatekeep information from incoming freshmen and any others they did not deem “trustworthy”. When I expressed it was unfair to leave these individuals out, I was told that I could be the one to work directly with them because the other veteran members didn’t want to “deal with them”. My teammates didn’t even give them a chance-- they deemed who they thought was worth working with very early on in the season. I tried my best to encourage and help out the freshmen members, but they quickly learned the culture and slowly stopped attending. Our freshman group went from upwards of thirty students at the initial interest meeting to just one by the time our first competition came around.
As preparation for the new game continued, I still dealt with more comments about my intelligence, my worth, and my socioeconomic status; by the start of 2020, the team had made no improvements. We attended the competition at Auburn University, where I drove separately from the team because they wanted to leave an hour before I was out of work; however, they ended up leaving after I was out anyway. I was intending to drive the next morning, but no one would respond as per what time I should arrive at Auburn (note that the trip from Clemson is a 4-hour drive). After some time, I received a response stating I would need to leave within four hours, and while on the way there I constantly received texts from other teammates asking where I was, when I was arriving, and whether I had brought the sticker labels for our notebook. I was obviously frustrated and I felt micromanaged. My arrival time would not change despite how many times I was asked.

When I arrived at Auburn, my team was not there, despite being told they were waiting for me. I was very upset and frustrated with the situation, I also had other teams coming up and asking me where my team was and I had no answers. The team ended up arriving an hour late with the notebook-- my team had to ask the EP to turn it in, after which my teammates claimed that I was to blame for their tardiness despite me only having the stickers for the cover and not the physical notebook. Soon afterwards, during inspection, our 15” robot was out of size. Instead of fixing the sizing or speaking calmly to the RECF representative/head referee, my teammates chose to yell at her, loudly stating that she was incompetent and didn’t know how to use a sizing tool. I quickly apologized for this to the RECF representative and I was embarrassed and appalled by the interaction. In fact, this incident almost caused my team to be disqualified due to violation of ; the only reason we could continue competing was because the host team asked that the representative give our team another chance.
Even after this, throughout the day my teammates continued to openly complain about how the competition was poorly run and “rigged”, despite the host team not winning nor submitting a notebook themselves. During matches I sat in the box and actively scored what was going on in the match. This was my way of still being an active drive team participant but allowed me to stay “out of the way”. I would actively score and do predictions to coach my team which color would be needed and if towers mattered that match. I would not speak directly to the drivers however, I had to go through a middle man. By the end of the event other teams also noticed BCUZ’s dynamics and behaviors, and expressed concerns to me about the yelling, degrading, and overall rude attitudes of my teammates. One even stated I looked miserable and I deserved better.

TW: Sexual Content

During this season, I would attend meetings but would often leave feeling defeated. It seemed that nothing I ever did was “good enough”, and nothing I had accomplished was recognized on the same level as my teammates’ past accomplishments. My roommates and friends also noticed this treatment-- many expressed that they would have quit if they were treated half as bad as I was. In addition to this, there were many encounters where one specific team member would describe his sexual experiences to me in detail, despite me expressing I did not want to hear them and how it made me uncomfortable. I would leave the room when this happened, and it got to a point where it almost felt like his mission was to get me to leave. Of course, I did not want to hear of anyone's sexual experiences, especially not in an environment that is typically supposed to be a professional workplace.

At our meetings, I was routinely left in a separate room to clean prints because it was “something even [I] can’t mess up”. Once, I was left in a separate room for almost 4 hours-- the one time I had walked into the field room, I was immediately told to leave because my teammates had to “think of routes”, despite me having already drawn up several. After this, instead of carpooling with another member of the team, I ended up calling my roommate to come pick me up from the meeting. My teammates never noticed that I had left-- the individual who I had originally planned to leave with texted me half an hour later that we should be getting ready to leave. This is one of many meetings where I felt like a child given busy work: yes, it’s work, and someone has to do it, but it was the only thing I was ever allowed to do.

Tower Takeover Reveal

When it came time to film our Tower Takeover reveal, I had explicitly expressed my interest, but again the priority for decision-making was given to those outside of our team. Many of my teammates, along with these other competitors, excluded me from their discussions in regards to where our reveal would be filmed and when it would be released: in fact, they made a hidden thread without me simply to discuss this topic. Alongside our ‘actual’ reveal, my team had also released a ‘meme reveal’; I was yet again excluded from this discussion. In this meme reveal were ‘funny’ pictures and/or videos of BCUZ team members, and the picture they included of me was taken out-of-context and could easily be interpreted as a sexual innuendo. I only found out about this video after an individual I had never spoken to before messaged me it as he felt I should know-- this was six days after the video was posted and was circulating around the community. I had never given permission to include this picture, but when I expressed being upset about the inappropriate usage of said photo, I was told I “should be happy I was included because the freshmen were not”. Again, I was invalidated.

Towards the end of the Tower Takeover season, I endured consistent gaslighting, criticism, and a constant feeling of walking on eggshells. I could not predict what would ‘set my teammates off’, but it seemed like every interaction I had with them would end in some sort of tension. I was often told that I was not fully committed to the team primarily because I would not nearly-live in the room. As a college student, I took time and studied for what I needed-- I had felt, and still do feel, that my academic commitments should be prioritized over robotics whenever need be. I often did not feel welcomed in the robotics room; in fact, I was asked to not attend meetings or be in the building room at all when a certain teammate was building because I “made his mind wander” and “made him think”. Obviously, this comment made me uncomfortable and so I did not attend meetings as regularly as I had been. A few weeks later, I expressed frustrations only to be met with “if [I] attended more, maybe we’d respect you”-- again, the opposite of what I had been originally told. I was not able to meet their requirements, I was either too active or not active enough. Similarly, I was told I was not allowed to type in the Robotics discord servers when my teammate was active because he was annoyed by my presence, and because of me, he had to “filter what he wanted to say”.’


I was told I needed to have a conversation about my status on the team after weeks of my teammates telling others I was “iffy” about my involvement. I did not make the decision to be “iffy”-- rather, other individuals on my team did. I had a three week time span where I was free to discuss concerns, but I explicitly stated I could not do April 15th because I had an exam on the morning of April 16th. However, on the morning of April 16th, I woke up to a sudden message at 4 AM. This message consisted of what at the time seemed like a ‘novel’ of things I needed to do (or not do) in order to be allowed on “his” team. The team is not an independent team-- it is funded by our university. When I responded, obviously upset, I was told “It is 4 am, this is meant to start a conversation but not right now”. Very rarely was I able to begin a conversation or verbalize my concerns (despite my efforts), but on April 17 I got a call from this teammate at 3 AM. When I told him that only contacting me at such late times was not appropriate, his response was to the effect of “If you leave, you’ve sealed your faith”. The entire conversation consisted of his side only; when it was my turn to speak, he refused to hear me out stating that it was late and he should sleep. Once again, I was the one at blame, with him noting the timing of the conversation to be my fault.


When I expressed my frustrations of the lack of conversation, this same member later replied with “the difference is I can ignore you if I want to”. Obviously, this was meant to belittle me and tear me down, and by this time my patience was up. Teammates continued to tell others that I was “iffy” about continuing the team-- they were only not sure of my status because they would not communicate with me. Instead, they did everything in their power to push me out. Upon expressing that it was due time for some answers a few weeks later, I was then sent a “pog-fish” meme instead. When I responded “you do not have to be my friend, but respect me enough as a person to answer me”, I was sent another “pog-fish”. I closed discord and decided to cool off a bit before continuing.

Unfortunately, upon opening the app again, I was met with more pog-fish references. The “joke” had spread to the point of seemingly every competitor’s status in every server I was involved with. I could not type, or be mentioned at all, without pog-fish being sent as an instant response. In fact, I could not even be online. As soon as the mentions had died down, I’d come online and anyone involved would immediately start again. The specific teammate who started this alongside his friends (from other teams) knew the context as well, as well as most of the other members on BCUZ at that time. Though context was limited, the trend spread very quickly because others joined in “on the fun”, not knowing the reason behind the meme being sent. While these ‘other’ individuals thought it was just a funny meme, they were unknowingly participating in a form of targeted cyberbullying. The meme ended up being posted on Instagram accounts as well. After a few weeks, I figured it had died down-- I turned my status on, but again pog-fish started circulating on people’s statuses. At this point, I had left the servers I was previously active in: because of the unnecessary childish “joke”, I could not simply exist in the communities I once belonged to. Other competitors noticed my absence and asked what had happened, but instead of answering my teammates and their friends would respond with pog-fish.




Overall, my social reputation I had had in the VEX community was stripped from me and ruined. I was labeled many things and my story was only told from one side - their side. I was regularly made out to be the bad guy, despite my best efforts to keep the peace. After 5 months of no progress and no responses, I asked for my parts, cortex, drill and other things back. In this case, I had an immediate response. The story again was turned, and I was once again labeled the bad guy. I was returned some of my things, however not all, in fact some of my tools, V5, and parts are still being used. I was blocked before reviewing any parts I had gotten back.

When all of this concluded, for some time I considered even switching to a non-STEM major: I had been conditioned into believing that this was what the workforce would be like once I graduated, and the trauma I had endured while remaining on BCUZ pushed me away from my passions. While I did end up remaining as an engineering major, the decision for me to leave BCUZ, or “quit”, was not one I made on my own. That decision was made for me. Upon leaving the team, I was offered to join five other VEXU teams because they saw value in me; however, due to my experience I could not bring myself to compete. After all of this, I experienced a lot of anxiety surrounding robotics and the mention of it, I was stripped of the enjoyment of competing and I was convinced the community would never hear my side. I tried to stick around in hopes that things would be better when Jenna joined. I did not want someone else to experience the things I experienced and I hoped things would neutralize.


The Beginning: Change Up and QIPE

After graduating HS in 2020, I was ecstatic to continue my passion in robotics on BCUZ-- without robotics, I don’t know where I would be today. I am forever thankful for the community I’ve been privileged enough to meet, but unfortunately, the buildup of these internal events have pushed me towards an inability to continue competing with BCUZ, and I can no longer continue to bear the treatment I’ve had to endure.

CU was a strange season to start VEXU, being that COVID had left us extremely limited in terms of in-person contact. My first ‘real’ encounter competing on the university level was QIPE; this was also my first encounter with the treatment I’d continue to endure for years to come. Leeanna had just quit earlier in the year-- I was left in the dark about much of this, and assumed she had left on her own without much to do with the rest of the team.

At QIPE (“Quality In Person Event”-- the competition that effectively replaced VEXU Worlds during COVID), teams had a six-person limit, and to counter this we were told that we would be registering another team as a ‘throw-away’ to bring the amount of people who were willing to come and dedicate their times to the ‘actual’ team. We brought nine people from Clemson and three others to compete alongside us; in the several weeks before attendance, I worked endlessly on programming user control and autons, and rewrote our notebooks to the highest quality possible for submission. When we arrived, however, our programmers and the only other girl on the team (a drive coach) were booted onto this ‘throw-away’ team, and made to compete as drivers of our old (particularly, the first design of the season) robots. We were not allowed to touch our actual robots, and we were not allowed to do anything that would show our efforts in the weeks before attending QIPE. With none of us being builders or drivers, we were of course offended, and when I brought this up the night after, I was told by one of the members who didn’t attend our school that I wasn’t dedicated enough to be competing with the ‘actual’ team. Unfortunately, this was just the start of what was to come.

Experiences During Tipping Point

Exclusion and Gatekeeping

The beginning of the TiP season was reasonably normal; I was busy with school, so didn’t have much time to work, but tried my best to be there as often as possible and wrote the notebook/programmed for the team when competition season came about. Around February, things started to feel strange: it felt like people were omitting me from conversations, but despite asking about this I was assured that this was not the case. Then came the Purdue scrim: I was super excited to go, was the first to express interest, and had been verbalizing my excitement in the room to other team members. But when the event came around and we finalized the people going, I was somehow left out of the list. When I asked, I was assured that it was simply looked over; however it seemed that people were frustrated about having to bring an extra car just because of me. I ended up going, and once there I found out that there in fact were things being hidden from me. What was hidden from me was the most major aspect of our design during TiP, and I was told about this before, but somehow this was forgotten about. They posed this in a big ‘reveal’ to me at that scrimmage, where I was told that they had kept it a secret because they didn’t want their leeks to get out and they were worried I wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret in the same way that they could (despite already knowing about it).

Misconduct and (More) Exclusion - 2022 Worlds

At Worlds that year, a somewhat similar situation happened to that at the Purdue scrim: I was prevented from attending HS worlds to watch and help out the teams I’ve mentored since I was in high school, all because “it wouldn’t at all be fun… we are just gonna be mad the whole time… there’s not much of a point in going, we don’t even wanna go ourselves”. I had to buy a plane ticket to be able to both make it there and back; before arrival, I was told that the other members of the team who already arrived would be able to give me and my teammate a ride back to the BNB, but once I arrived I had to buy an Uber as they were “too tired to pick us up”.

When HS worlds came about, I found out that the big reason I was pushed out was to let two others, who were not on our team, come and take me and one other member’s place at the BNB. Instead of attending worlds and mentoring their teams, my teammates spent that time partying and fooling around, with them excitedly speaking and posting online about their experiences afterwards. On top of this, during our time actively competing, I was frequently ignored-- many of the calls I made when I was on the drive team were disregarded, but those same calls ended up being the reason we lost the matches. One match, I was even told to “shut the f*ck up” and that what I was saying wasn’t at all helpful. During this time, instead of being referred to by my name, I was often just referred to as “woman” by other members on my team.

Spin Up: My Last Straw(s)

Merchandise Design and “Progress Updates”

Then comes this season, which I would argue puts the rest of my experiences to shame. The treatment this year far exceeds the severity of earlier seasons, with frequent circumstances of being put down, embarrassed, or disheartened for my efforts. Among the first of these was the situation with the merch I had made: out of nowhere, it was brought to my attention that the team was planning on making new merch, and when I asked why, I was told it was because the current release was “sh*t”. The decision to make new shirts was done in private, and being that we were incredibly budget- and time-limited last season, I was offended by the sudden motion to call my efforts bad.

I had suggested that if they were unhappy with my design choices, they could have critiqued it and I would have been happy to go back and make edits according to those critiques. After that, things went silent for a while, up until I brought up the idea of “progress updates” to motivate team-wide communication. Being college students, it can get difficult to be in the room 24/7; though some members would stay in there overnight, I and many others were not among that group, and it was difficult to understand our team decisions and workflow without sacrificing our academic stability and free time to do so. For that reason, I raised the option of having a dedicated channel for design process milestones. Although this was a perfectly reasonable thing to do, I was told that this would be “micromanagement”, “unnecessary”, and that “organization impedes productivity”. Rather, others would be in the room until 3 or 4 AM every night-- why couldn’t I do the same?

After this point, I dropped the conversation, and things again went silent until I heard that one of the freshman members of BCUZ was telling a HS competitor I previously mentored that my team in high school was “problematic” and that I was the reason for this. Around the same time, I was asked to spend my time over winter break (between around Christmas and New Years) drawing new designs for merchandise, unpaid. I decided at that point (December 28, 2022) that I wouldn’t do any further work until I was respected as a member of the team. The member who specified me as problematic was one that I had talked to only once up until then, and never competed with or against in high school. The only reason this opinion of me could have come up was if I were being talked about behind my back, by other members of the team. Upon bringing my concerns up, I was told that this was a “personal” problem that “derails the team” and is a “distraction… that shouldn’t affect my work on the notebook”.

On New Years, the upcoming president released an announcement about implementing the same progress updates he previously labeled unnecessary-- and this was to be not just in one dedicated channel, but four; one for builders, one for programmers, one for documentation, and one for skills. In the same message, I found out that I was demoted from documentation lead, with one of the first-years replacing me. When I asked about this, I was told that it was done because I was “unreliable” and “didn’t make my deadlines”-- I can only assume this is because I had to withdraw, only for a few days at that point, from doing work until I could receive respect for the efforts I was putting in. Again, I dropped it; there was really nothing I could do. The officers of the team are not elected, and the leads are not elected either; they are simply chosen without notice, and with this, the decision-makers of our organization will most often take the same stance on motions that should be up for further discussion. I was extremely offended by these accusations against me, having never missed a deadline for notebook submission nor writing programs before, but couldn’t necessarily do anything to speak up.

Mid Competition Season: Kalahari -> Worlds

When competition season came about (Kalahari), the robots were not finished at all. They were simply drivetrains, and nothing more-- ironic, given that I was the one who wasn’t making deadlines. The notebook is written in portions according to each robot; they have to be ‘merged’ into one large notebook before submission, and I had established that we need at least a day for me to do this and print before the tournament. While I finished my part right around that day-prior deadline, the now-lead documentation member did not. He pushed his deadline back not once, not twice, but to the point where he finished at 1:30 PM on the car ride to Ohio, as opposed to the 6:00 PM deadline on the day before. While waiting for him to finish, I had to stay up for 30 hours straight. We had to print at the Staples there, and I had to facetime a friend to submit the notebook for printing for me due to limited WiFi. This situation didn’t only occur once: it happened at TigerTown, too, and many of the following events.

My team flew the same individual who told me I wasn’t dedicated enough to compete with the team during QIPE to compete with us again at Kalahari, and to serve as a builder and programmer in preparation for TigerTown. Although I was assured that the individual in question was a college student, I have since discovered that these were lies-- the member has seemingly not been in college since graduating high school, and BCUZ has been illegally letting this individual compete as a member of our team. This was confirmed to me by other competitors in this member’s region. While others outside of the team pointed this out to me after seeing them on the drive team at Kalahari, I was hesitant to tell a RECF representative; I had no way of knowing for sure whether I was being lied to, and gave this individual the benefit of the doubt. There were times where their statements went against what I was told in the sense of them being a full-time college student (or a college student at all), but I had ignorantly assumed that it was simply a misinterpretation on my end. This individual is even listed as a team member in our engineering notebook; their flight to Clemson was paid for, and local members saw no issue in letting them compete with us as a member of BCUZ.

At Kalahari, we won Design. At TigerTown, we won Excellence. At Purdue, we won Design. Despite this, I was frequently told things like how design doesn’t really matter, and the only award that “matters” is Tournament Champion or Excellence at Worlds. And despite that, there were frequent occasions of other team members bragging about our Worlds qualifications. A high school competitor was messaged by our lead builder that I “only write what he tells me”, and that same person said in the Vex Teams of South Carolina discord that we “could’ve won excellence even with a dog notebook”. Almost every time I saw another team member speaking about our awards, it was either putting me down or discrediting me from the efforts put towards them. During our competitions, even other teams noticed the way I was treated: I was told several times that people had felt sorry for me, seeing the way my teammates spoke to me. Even parents would call out the way I was treated while competing.


On top of all of this, although I had expressed interest in being a member of the drive team again this season, I was never followed up with. At competitions, I am not even allowed to look at the drive team when they compete during matches-- I have to be somewhere their backs are facing, even if that means I’m not in the room at all. When I asked why, I was told they wanted to “limit distractions as much as possible” so as to “not throw off the drivers”. Even after matches, I am limited in my ability to speak to members of my own team; in the times I’ve tried, I have simply been cut off from continuing, even if it’s vital to our performance-- whether that be in or out of matches. Specifically, I can recall one example at Kalahari where we had an upcoming interview right after a match, and I was making sure that each of my teammates knew their parts. When I started drilling our drive team members, one of them blatantly ignored my interview rundown. I had to give our other documentation member the outline of what he was expected to be talking about so he could catch him up instead: while relaying this information, another drive team member told me that this member “ignores me because he only listens to the people he respects”.

Most Recent Events

Just recently, we started making plans for going to Worlds again, and in this I was given the same excuse for not being able to go to HS worlds as I was told last year: it wouldn’t be any fun, the extra time there was going to be constantly working, etc. In addition to this, I was told that it was only the drive team who would be going, and nothing I was doing had to do with the team competing and practicing beforehand, so I shouldn’t need to go at all (despite other programmers and documentation members going, with no issues whatsoever). I was told that there would be little chance of us receiving an excuse to go for HS worlds-- but when I asked the current president, he said that it wouldn’t be much of an issue at all, and he would be fine with asking for me. Despite the time I’ve invested into the team, and despite the long-running proof of my efforts paying off, I was left with no ability to go and see the competitors I’ve watched grow up and excel, and no chance of arguing for my side of things.

This past weekend, I found out that I have been called “untrustworthy” by an individual who has frequently expressed that they have no issue with me whatsoever (for reference, this is the same person that our team flew cross-country to illegally compete with us at Kalahari and TigerTown). Upon asking for permission for me to provide advice on the notebooks of the middle school teams they are paid to mentor, they said that the other (first-year, now lead) documentation member “writes most of the notebook” and there was no reason for me to give additional insight. In fact, if I did join to give advice, they would go so far as to leave the discord server of a club they have worked with for what’s approaching five years.


This was my personal breaking point. There have been many close calls for last straws, from members staying in the room overnight to the point of living there, to ignored university reports on the behaviors of my teammates, to blatantly putting me down and making excuses for me not to receive any recognition for my efforts. I’ve been holding on for so long to try to prove that I mean something-- anything-- on the team I’ve been so passionate about. But at this point, I can’t do it anymore. There isn’t anything more that I can do when there is little reason for me to have to prove my worth in the first place. I’ve always questioned why I am treated the way I am, and the only thought I can reasonably come to is misogyny, or simply bullying. I’ve tried many times to bring this to the attention of the officers of the team; however, there has been little change, and most of the time I would get an excuse along the lines of how me and the president are both graduating soon and there’s little left to be done. Another previous team member also tried to bring up similar concerns; in time, he ended up being kicked off the team and all associations between him and BCUZ were removed.

Several reports associated with this statement’s content have been created thus far: one in December, one in February, and two just this week. The one in December was completely ignored by the university, and the one in February had some actions taken, but this was involved with the cleanliness of the team and the team’s work habits quickly deteriorated again after the in-person inspections were no longer required. Among the two other reports that have been made more recently, one is to RECF for knowingly having an illegal competitor on the team and violating in lying to other teammates to cover for the illegal competitor, alongside sexism, harassment (see Leeanna’s reflections on “pogfish”), and exclusion. Upon being called into a meeting April 8 to discuss the RECF report, the President’s immediate response (as of April 7, 2023) was that he will “take a bullet” for the team- he was in a room with other individuals who told me this information (few, but not many, knew of me ‘privately’ quitting the team at this time). Another teammate, who was in the room with the President, was speaking with him about how they assumed this had to do with the illegal competitor on the team. Since then, they seem to have been deleting any incriminating messages of that member’s violations, assumedly in order to cover up these actions.

(Screenshotted November 02, 2022)

(Screenshotted April 08, 2023)

As of November 02, 2022 - 588 Results

Total Messages, Filtered Before Nov 03 2022 - Screenshotted April 08, 2023 - 447 Results

As of ‘privately’ leaving the team (at this point, not saying anything to the team in fear of the retaliation that may occur), I have attempted to reserve my intellectual property by removing any of the notebooks that were 100% my own (those in archive, and any PDFs for submission I compiled)-- I am somewhat planning on publicly releasing these notebooks for other competitors to reference. BCUZ is not aware of this plan as of this statement’s release, but it seems that upon the now-lead documentation member noticing that I removed my archived notebooks, he immediately brought this to the attention of the rest of the team, and has since restored them and downloaded them locally for his own reference in the future. Since this, he has been joining a number of servers of teams I am close to or generally servers I am in: he scrolled up to 2020 to find an invite for the AUBIE1 discord server from the Alabama discord server, and AUBIE1 is a fairly direct connection to both me and Leeanna. He was left in this server for most of the night and revealed much of what was supposed to be private information (“leaks”) to BCUZ.

Since joining the team, this documentation member has been looking for any information about other teams to send to BCUZ, and a lot of the time, this is used as fuel for belittlement (such as to teams EZPZ, AUBIE1, NUKE, and RIT). After he was selected to replace me as documentation lead, he has been ignoring anything I comment on in regards to notebook critiques: even pointing out items as simple as styling fixes, typos, or missing sentences is ignored, and on top of missing deadlines for compilation (“merging”) I have been left to address this on my own during the subteam notebook->merge into master notebook->submission process. When I ask for clarification while writing entries (formatted as “yes” or “no” questions, directed towards the BCUZ builders as most will often not respond if they have to put too much effort into it), the first-year, now lead documentation member will often jump into this conversation and speak down to me as if these questions are something I should already know: he doesn’t answer the “this” or “that”, “yes” or “no”; he makes the response into a mystery I am responsible for solving. Though more minor than some of the other information involved in this statement, I felt it important to address in raising my concerns.

In short, there has not been a single time on BCUZ where I felt accepted. Despite the fact that I consider robotics as a shaping factor of my identity, despite it being my passion, despite my efforts to pursue robotics as a career after graduation, the time I have spent on the team has done nothing but put me down. In hearing Leeanna’s experiences, I was appalled by the similarities-- this is something I would never wish upon my worst enemies, and all I wish is for aspiring young women like us to feel like they belong. I hate to have to resort to this, but after bringing my concerns up to the officers of the team and receiving a multitude of empty promises, and after enduring such treatment for what is now three years, I can no longer stay silent. And to BCUZ: I wish you the best, but I sincerely hope you can do better than this in the future.


Despite efforts to repair these dynamics, BCUZ has remained a very toxic team, having made openly disrespectful (and frankly sexist) comments towards team members and discrediting these individuals’ achievements. Though many may have been under the impression that Leeanna left the team on her own, she was gradually pushed off of the team after events related to bullying and targeted harassment. Jenna did leave the team on her own due to the toxic environment explained above; this environment highlights themes of exclusion, degradation, and disrespect, on top of encouragement for unhealthy and unsanitary work habits. Although these issues have been brought up to officers of the team multiple times, no change has come of it.

Brendan’s response posted to GitHub, linking here for visibility/continuity.


why is just charlie getting booted

1 Like

Hello everyone,

For those unaware, I am Christopher “Critter” May, the incoming president of BCUZ Robotics. Firstly, I want to apologize to anybody our team made inferior or disrespected. It has been my goal this past year as I have taken on the responsibilities of performing general structural changes, listening to input from all team members, and attempting to resolve these issues as they were presented. To say the least, I performed my job poorly. The point of this post is to highlight my role on the team and what I am responsible for.

On New Year’s Day, I was responsible for restructuring the internal structure of the team. Initially, Jenna reached out to me about wanting structured descriptions of decisions about the bot made. At first, I opposed the change simply because I was lazy—nothing more and nothing less. I didn’t want to write descriptions every time we made a decision. That was enough for me to stand my ground on a decision that I would revert a month later. When making these changes to the new structure of the team, I realized that doing weekly updates of the decisions each subteam made every week would be the most efficient for everyone while also making it so everyone was aware of the state of the robots and what needed to be done.

At the time, I believed the action to result in the team’s best performance would be to transfer the responsibilities of the Documentation lead. I did this with no consultation or communication from other team members. As the semester proceeded, I spoke with Jenna and apologized for my actions. Hopeful for some remediation, I gave her the responsibilities of Programming lead and took action on different complaints she had about team members.

I took these complaints seriously and addressed them to the multiple members involved. After this, they took action to be more welcoming to everyone. I contacted many members we hadn’t seen show up in a while and asked why they weren’t involved anymore. Responses I received at the time varied from they were busy with school to not knowing when to show up to the room. After I shared this input from various members, I asked that members invite any absent members into the room. From my perspective, I saw drastic changes around the room regarding overall acceptance and cooperation. However, it is clear that I needed to do more.

During TigerTown, I admit that I told Jenna to leave before the match. Before we went up for the match, I was asked by Ben Salek, our drive coach, for her not to be there as there was currently tension between her and Ben. In the same way she asked Ben not to be on the interview team after Kalahari. As requested, I approached her before we queued, and at the time, she seemed to understand and said ok. When we were at the match, I saw her aligning the robot. That is when I said, “I appreciate it. I just need you to leave.” After the match, I apologized for my reaction and what I said.

To any members who felt excluded from the team, I am sorry I could not make the team a welcoming environment for you. I was responsible for ensuring we had a well-functioning team with members excited to build robots together. I have learned a lot from this semester, and my only hope is that after we take appropriate actions, the community will welcome us again.

I want to take this time to address publicly the actions taken against Charlie Grier. My part in allowing Charlie to get kicked off of the team was a decision I wish I hadn’t made. The intention was to show quick action and that we are taking this matter seriously. However, I never fully considered the multiple repercussions that would be taken. Frankly, I should have fought harder to take this decision slowly and with thought. While I couldn’t speak for years before Tipping Point, Charlie has changed a lot from listening to and reading stories. Someone can change a lot within two to three years since the reports from Change Up and Tower Takeover. He isn’t responsible for most of what is listed in this post, but we acted like he was. Multiple other members were responsible for this, most of whom graduated, and Charlie shouldn’t be taking the blame for all of this. In fact, recently, the only instance where Charlie didn’t meet standards was in the discussion regarding the t-shirt designs mentioned above. After which, he was talked to (more accurately: yelled at). In reaction to this, he has made sure not to be the cause of more conflict.

With this information, I hope the community can see Charlie for who he is. I understand that my part in the actions taken was cowardly and unacceptable. I hope that Friends, Teammates, Competitors, and anybody whose perception of Charlie has changed, can please look at and make their opinions based on who Charlie is now.

In the middle of March, we created and formed a “BCUZ Team Constitution.” All members wrote a formal agreement. We made sure to receive as much input as possible to ensure that every member knew what was expected of them and how they should behave while a team member. We hope this will help uphold a positive and healthy work environment.


bcuz trying to make ifi look good? its almost working but you both look bad

I am saddened to hear about the toxic environment experienced by Jenna and Leanna. In this day and age when we are so hyper aware of the importance of equality and inclusion, it’s ashame our young and allegedly most promising still find value in diminishing others. Having said that, while I cannot comment on the internal struggles of BCUZ, I will say that members of BCUZ have been nothing but supportive mentors for the teams in our organization.

I will however speak on one specific person mentioned in this detailed account. The “illegal member” mentioned in this story is someone our organization holds in very high regard. Whatever the issues are between Jenna and this “member” is between them and I hope they can sort out any misunderstandings by talking directly to each other. But as a result of this, I now see this “member” being mischaracterized as a bully on other platforms and I simply can’t let that go. This “member” has been with our organization for some 5+ years. Her participation in our organization has fostered an environment of encouragement and support. She is consistently experimenting with new ideas to nurture teamwork and collaboration. She is not only an advocate for teams sharing best practices within the organization but also across Socal. She is always available for anyone in need, sometimes to a fault. In the role of head referee in Socal, she has caused delays in competitions when teams don’t agree with the match outcome to allow teams a chance to make their case…to ensure everyone feels heard.

Is she perfect? No. She is young and will make mistakes. The issue at hand is no doubt complicated and I do not defend her actions as it relates to this specific situation. Only she can speak on exactly what was going on in her mind. But I have known her as someone both my boys have respected both as a peer (older son) and as a mentor (younger son) and I will never jump to the simplified conclusion that she is a bully. It’s not who I know, it’s not who most of us who know her know.


Anji, while we do understand your sentiments, we find it important to point out that just because you have only witnessed support, it does not mean that the individual has not actively contributed to the disregard and disrespect of others such as us. The negative experiences that I have had when interacting with this individual extend beyond that which was detailed in this post; sure, no one is perfect, but that is no reason to remain ignorant of one’s wrongdoings when extended over not only one year, but throughout the entirety of their involvements with BCUZ. I would certainly not consider any part of our recollections “simplified conclusions”-- our statements cover patterns of behavior that have spanned six years of time actively competing with the team, and this individual has been involved for at least four.

I will say that during my time specifically, I have repeatedly attempted to foster a positive relationship with this individual. I used to be much closer with them than I am now, and over time it has become evident that they exhibit a pattern of immaturity and hostility that matches, if not exceeds, that of the other members of BCUZ referenced. You mention that your experiences with this individual’s volunteering efforts in SoCal may have communicated that they try to “ensure everyone feels heard”; what I and others in South Carolina have witnessed certainly does not align with this. At a competition hosted by BCUZ this year, a high schooler at the event was yelled at by another competitor after losing a match to him. This was in his face, while he was visibly sick, competing on an alliance with the team who placed close to last in qualifications. Members and alumni of other organizations such as UNCC and AUBIE (one of whom served as the VEXU head referee) who were at the event, as well as me and Leeanna, witnessed this-- upon bringing the situation to the individual you have spoken about (who was the head referee of the high school division), they did not at all attempt to correct or reprimand the behavior. In fact, Leeanna asked if this member would allow their “kids” to act this way; the individual replied: “if my kids did that, I’d probably tell them ‘haha funny meme’ because it really is funny”.

There seems to be some extent of a misunderstanding as to how much this individual is involved, and given you are among an organization they also are associated with, I feel it is important to clarify. This individual is the same one who competed at QIPE with members of BCUZ, who told me I was not dedicated enough to be considered a member of the ‘actual’ team. In a text conversation with one of the other competitors on the ‘booted’ team, this individual said, “You know, as we are the competitive team”, and later, “Nah y’all have done nothing but get in our way”. This individual also partook in the cyberbullying Leeanna experienced, and was aware of the context behind the “meme”. I really am disappointed that despite these detailed retrospections, there are still arguments as per how certain individuals involved with the direct, negative treatment of me, Leeanna, and other past members of BCUZ deserve respect we were not given ourselves. In short, these members are being excused from the responsibility to take accountability and action to promote respect and professionalism in the VEX community.

And Critter: I am equally disappointed in your reaction to our statements. You have reached out to others and posted your response as if you are not directly cited in my experiences. I said this on Discord, but I will repeat it here: as most would expect, the clear lack of action and resistance (such as blaming my concerns as “personal issues”) to my efforts have conditioned me into a fear of letting you know I was actively upset. Yes, Charlie is not the only one involved with all of this, but by no means have most of these members graduated; the majority remain as competitors on BCUZ and hold equal responsibility for their discriminatory actions. There are no excuses for this sort of behavior, and your attempts to do so only highlight how important it is to hold everyone accountable for their actions.


Jenna -

I do not doubt your experience and I know whatever you went through was painful and unjust. I don’t condone nor defend any BCUZ actions as related in your account. But I speak from my experience with this specific individual that I believe warranted a perspective because of everything she has done for so many others that should not be overlooked.

From your original account, you gave the impression that comments made by this individual in a private server was the straw that broke the horses back because this individual and you had no issues. So, yes, it is surprising when you now say it was more than that.

You do you as you process the pain you’ve been through. As I said, it is no doubt complicated. And I hope that you two can find your way to talking about this. Apologies are warranted and maybe even more. But that is the first step to healing. I believe in this individual and trust she will right any wrongs.


did you even read her message? if they’re going to apologize and write wrongs why is it you here minimizing and defending them?


you cant just ignore mountains of evidence from bcuz just cause you are close to them. if youre really are close why arent you questioning why they acted this way.


I hope this doesn’t turn into a big argument.

Jenna, if you ever need to talk to someone outside of bcuz, many people in vtosc are willing and happy too.

I hope things can get better.

1 Like

@Knoppix, and all other team leaders I think we can all learn from this. I do not know anything about BCUZ, other than what was said, so maybe I’m getting this wrong, but as a team leader myself, I found out that you cannot just yell at people and push them around. You have to listen to what they have to say, even if you do not like them or their ideas, you have to accept them. It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle - when all the pieces are by themselves, they are useless, ugly. But when you take the time to figure out where its place is (and yes, everyone has a place), you create something beautiful. All of my biggest wins during robotics have been when everyone works together. Again, I may be reading the situation wrong, as I don’t really know much more about it, but I believe that if you, Critter, pull your team together, and be a real leader, you will not only create a better environment, but also get more wins.

Jenna, I hope things do get better for you, and don’t let your bad experiences in robotics stop you from pursuing a STEM career.


Hello everyone,

I hate bringing these things to light and discussion in a robotics team that I had high hopes of participating in and competing with. However, with recent developments of other team members’ experiences (shown above in Jenna’s post), I thought I might share my own experience.

Prior to admittance into BCUZ robotics:

Throughout my high school robotics career I served in many positions throughout the 4 years I competed. During my 3rd and 4th years, I was given the opportunity to become the team captain of team 916A/B. Mid-way through my senior year in high school, I was admitted to BCUZ robotics by hard convincing and other members vouching for my abilities-- this should have been the first red flag. I did not compete with BCUZ robotics during Change Up (2020-2021) due to COVID-19 and its impacts on my ability and desire to attend college at the time.

Tipping Point Season:

My first semester of Clemson and BCUZ began with what appeared to be a routine “initiation” of the new freshman of the team taking apart previously built robots and sorting every part of the robot into coordinated bins and organizers. To me, this felt like busy work: I had to do the same thing throughout high school, but at that time it was a team-wide effort as opposed to a ‘chore’ delegated to new members of the team. As such, I expressed a few weeks later that I would like to take a more direct position on the team as a builder (as that was what I am most familiar and confident with). I then was told the “basics” from Charlie, who described to me the differences between high-school and VEXU robotics. This was my first interaction with Charlie, and I could already feel like I was less welcome on the team through this interaction. At this point I felt ready to tackle some of the things on the robot that required building.

“Builder”, but I can’t do anything:

Most of my initial building duties involved copying whatever Charlie had built, which later evolved into building designs Charlie mocked up in CAD. After this, it seemed that Charlie felt my building was “incorrect”-- my efforts would be taken apart immediately, and I started to feel as if I was wasting my time. I was told many times that I should not touch the robot, and most of the time was not even allowed to see it. This is a prime example of the exclusion felt throughout my time as a member of BCUZ.

3D Files:

Most VEX builders can acknowledge the importance of planning out certain designs prior to building them (especially within a 15-inch volume limit). Despite multiple requests and discussions, I, alongside many other team members, was kept in the dark about future designs and plans for our robots. After I requested to have a copy of our robots’ Inventor assemblies, I was simply prompted to look at a laptop with the model on it. Although I had been trying to contribute as a member of the team-- trying to be considered as an equal to all of my other teammates-- I was not allowed to have a local copy of the CAD and help without extreme restrictions. At this time, I had a sub-assembly on my computer that I was looking to check for compatibility with the other CAD progress; instead, I was prohibited from being able to do this and was constrained to the point where I could make very few (if any) contributions.

After this point, I took a step back in BCUZ and waited until the time of the first Tigertown Competition to help with managing the event. Little did I know that through attending and volunteering at this event would widen my role in BCUZ, namely in BCUZ2.


After our fall Tigertown competition (during Tipping Point), I found that the second BCUZ team (“BCUZ2”) was struggling. I talked to the president of BCUZ, after which the previous lead of BCUZ2 and I talked about taking a more direct approach in this team. Shortly after this conversation, I was promoted to a lead position for this team; the current lead was to join the regular BCUZ team.

After being promoted to lead, I decided that I should conduct myself in a professional manner and promote such behavior and respect in this second team. This team had 5-6 people, with three of them being builders and the other 2-3 being programers. After discussing availability with the other members of BCUZ2, I was able to coordinate meetings and building times for the robots. For around a month, we met weekly with me and another builder putting in close to 20 hours a week getting robots ready. Eventually, it came time to qualify for Worlds via Skills. After staying up for 20 hours getting the robots ready and programmed, we were ready for our Skills run at an in-State VEX middle- and high-school state competition. It was mentioned that more team members were also supposed to attend the competition, but they never showed up.

“Do as I say, and not as I do”:

After the Skills run, we took a step back and relaxed a little bit. Around a month prior to the Spring Tigertown scrimmage, we began working on our robots again. Me and two other builders continued to put in around 20 hours a week, and we finished with our major building tasks two weeks prior to the scrimmage. We took a week break; I came back around 10 days after completing building so we could program the robots for the scrimmage. To my surprise, there were no robots to program. The robots we built for the scrimmage were taken apart and in pieces on one of our build tables. It was obvious that members of the other BCUZ team had taken the robots apart, without permission, to use the critical elements of our bots on their own. I did not receive any notice of this-- there was no sort of contact made to ask for permission to take apart our robots. While this behavior was completely fine when it came to the “second” BCUZ team, it became clear that it would not at all be tolerated if the same happened to our “main” counterpart.


As the lead of BCUZ2, I was given a team of many other novice members-- one of which was a certain individual that I will refer to as “the programmer.” The programmer was introduced to my team in the middle of the season, after expressing interest to another member of BCUZ. As the time we spent as a team went on, it became clear that this person lacks constraint. At many times, I was introduced to uncomfortable situations where the programmer would discuss the use of substances, alcohol, and would conduct in an overtly sexual manner. I had personal conversations with the programmer in order to address these discussions and to try to limit some of these interactions-- this behavior was not at all acceptable in what is supposed to be a professional working environment.

At one meeting, the programmer discussed with many other members of BCUZ his sexuality in detail. At this same meeting, he proceeded to physically harass me by licking my ear. I immediately pushed him away, and warned him not to do that again or I would take further action.

Spin-Up Season:

At the beginning of the Spin-Up season, we discarded BCUZ2, and I was assigned to a sub-team labeled “Moonshot.” This was a proposed project involving the development of experimental mechanisms for the Spin-Up season. Instead of having a robot for our sub-team to work on ourselves, we were primarily responsible for finding and implementing mechanisms that could potentially form certain tasks for the season. One of such mechanisms was a reliable endgame mechanism. Needless to say, I felt alienated from the team as a whole in this role-- I often found myself shoved away by many team members of BCUZ. I then decided to focus on more of an event provider role and began to work with other team members that would focus more on the event side of competitions (I.E. hosting competitions). In my limited interactions with team members, I continued to receive a feeling of disgust directed towards me.

Cleanliness and housing violations:

After the Tigertown fall competition, I decided to visit the BCUZ room with some of my mentees from my previous high school team. To put it simply, the robotics room and laboratory was disgusting. Clemson has rules in place about workshops and alcohol on campus. In the workshop/laboratory, there was food and drink that had been left there for many weeks prior in addition to current food and drink which should not have been in the workshop in the first place. On top of this, the team got into a habit of storing containers of alcohol in the room, openly drinking during and between periods of work on the robots. There were open containers previously containing alcohol in the room in plain sight when showing up to the room that night. Most of the members of BCUZ robotics are not of age to drink, so this raised a huge red flag. It was also introduced to me that night that another “member” of BCUZ had flown in from out of state and had been staying in the robotics room for around two weeks. Our university has established rules on this behavior due to safety concerns; however, to the members of BCUZ, this was not at all a foreign concept. It is common knowledge that many BCUZ team members would spend the night in the room for nights on end, “working” on the robots.

Clemson has since imposed rules on the workshop and the room that prevent “staying overnight,” and OCES has stepped in to overlook the operation of the workshop and ensure its cleanliness.

Censorship and Cutting the Cord:

After multiple negative interactions with BCUZ in public communication channels (namely Discord), there was an announcement sent out indicating that no messages should be sent in public VEX-related Discord servers without approval. Anyone that does post or send any public messages risks getting their post removed and being “talked to” by the leadership of BCUZ. This action speaks for itself: at any time that BCUZ risks its reputation getting damaged, they will take any and all action necessary for “damage control." Instead of attempting to resolve the ‘toxic dynamics’ that they brought about themselves, leadership has continually tried to censor members of BCUZ in an effort to preserve their image. At this point, I was ready to pull the cord and leave BCUZ.

Later, another message was sent out requesting that all active members respond to a message indicating that they understand the BCUZ situation, agree to not speaking about BCUZ in any negative manner, and agree to not “leaking” any of BCUZ’s information (albeit the members of BCUZ are free to obtain “leaks” from other teams and send/discuss them in their own server). This was the last straw, I decided to leave on good terms and left the discord server without saying or doing anything. As of February 27, 2023 I am no longer a member of BCUZ.


Once again, I am very disappointed that my VEX career does not continue beyond Spin-Up. VEX used to be an outlet of creativity and security for me in my darkest times of depression. VEX has made me what I am today, a student in Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University, and with a heavy heart it is very hard for me to let go of competing for an organization such as RECF and VEXU. I wish all current and future members of BCUZ robotics the best of luck.

I’m incredibly disappointed to see that even though there are “good people” on the team they get pushed to the side by the toxic culture. It really sucks that they controlled your robotics experience to that level. I really hope BCUZ actually takes steps to reform so we can have positive influences in the vex community like you.
There is also the completely insane idea to fully control what members can say to other members of the community. Almost like they didn’t want stories like this to come out.


Hello all,

Many of you probably don’t know me but I’m Jacob Lin. I have been doing VEX for 5 years now and was the vice president of my high school robotics club. After enrolling at Clemson University I joined BCUZ Robotics at the start of the Spin Up season. Recently I was elected to the position of President by the members of BCUZ, using the methods outlined in our new constitution, which can be found here.

I would like to share with you how BCUZ has chosen to move forwards following the allegations against the club on April 11th. Shortly after the allegations were made and Charlie Grier was suspended from the club, all of BCUZ held a meeting to discuss how to move forward and the actions that needed to be taken. After much thought and discussion we decided to institute some serious structural changes, including elections for club officer positions and a checks and balances system to ensure that officers behave according to their station. Other team structural changes were made to improve how the club responds to reports of disrespect and to ensure that no member feels alienated or uncomfortable.

In addition to these changes it was also made clear that the majority of the club thought that the decision to suspend Charlie, whether it was the right decision or not, was made too hastily. Because of this we set aside time to discuss what to do about Charlie, this gave each member enough time to think about what should be done and would hopefully allow for us to think logically about how to proceed. At this meeting, we once again thoroughly investigated and discussed all of the allegations that were brought up against BCUZ. This led us to the conclusion that while the actions and words of Charlie Grier were unbecoming of a member of BCUZ, the blame for the hostile environment experienced by some members of BCUZ does not lie solely with him. Two other members in particular were identified as having contributed to the unhealthy work environment. Because of the hasty nature of the decision, the club voted that Charlie would be reinstated into the club, and that all members that participated in the creation of the hostile environment would be stripped of their leadership positions and barred from running for any elected position for the following VEX season. These punishments were enforced immediately and the elections for new officers took place this past week leaving BCUZ with entirely new leadership. Those of us in the new officer corp strive to promote a healthier working environment for BCUZ robotics. Going forward, we hope to foster a team that will not only make everyone feel welcome but also improve our competitive capability to build, program, and drive our robots.

We at BCUZ would like to apologize to anyone who felt excluded from our club due to actions of our members, and moving forwards we will rely on the structure changes and the things we have learned from this incident to ensure that this does not happen again. One such change is a new strike system outlined in our constitution under . This system will allow for a more streamlined process when dealing with members not conducting themselves professionally.

It is also important to note that while I am the one making this statement, the entire club deliberated over the decisions listed, and greatly apologizes for any transgressions. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to email me at I hope we can all move past this and continue to compete with each other. I very much look forward to working with everyone in the upcoming year and can’t wait to see how everyone performs at Worlds.

Best Wishes,
Jacob Lin

President, BCUZ Robotics


Take notes, IFI.

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bro was really like damn they didnt kick off any offending members tAkE nOtEs


Yes, but they took direct action to fix the issues they had with their organization, while still giving the offenders second chances to fix themselves. I might not completely agree with that second action, but what we saw here is how allegations should be responded to - seriously, with immediate action to resolve the issues, not attempts to disprove the allegations or ignore them(IFI).
I’m glad BCUZ, despite the alleged issues, had the discipline and desire for self-improvement as an organization to be honest and critical of itself to make a change for the better.

As to whether the changes will stick or work, time will tell. But things are looking better right from the start.

That’s the end of my involvement in this discussion as I have said all I would like to say.


When Jenna and team mates decided to vandalize the BCUZ pit area at Worlds, they lost all credibility. They should have been kicked out of the competition.