Q: Can 4‑H discriminate based on age? I had always thought we couldn’t have clubs for 4th graders or teen clubs, for example, because of non-discrimination policy?
A: 4-H volunteers can set limits based on understandable criteria. Volunteers cannot exclude youth based on gender but can say that a teen club is for youth age 13 to 18, or that the local 4‑H club is open to youth 9 and under. If such limits are made, then the 4-H volunteer leaders and members must stick to them. Exceptions can lead to claims of discrimination.
Q: What happens if a volunteer refuses to sign the Maine 4-H Volunteer Standards of Behavior contract because they disagree with any part of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s non-discrimination policies?
A: 4-H volunteers who are trained and supported by UMaine Cooperative Extension are expected to comply with the non‑discrimination policies of the University of Maine and be informed of such in their orientation and training. This means that all volunteers must make their educational offerings, services, and support available to all individuals without discriminating. As a public and tax‑supported institution, the University of Maine is on record as not discriminating against individuals in its educational programs or employment. As employees who work with and train volunteers as representatives of the University of Maine, we, and they, are expected to comply with the University’s non‑discrimination policy.
What the University is saying is that all people need to have the same access to our resources and services as outlined in the non‑discrimination policy.