adapted from the Unitarian Universalist Association Pacific Northwest District’s Conference Affairs Committee protocols
A Youth Conference Rules and Consequences Committee (CRAC) (also known as a Conference Affairs Committee [CAC]) is convened in the event that there is a need to address a serious problem that has arisen at a Youth Event, because participants have acted in ways that jeopardize the well being and safety of the conference community. Most often these are issues that are not directly related to the logistical and operational aspects running the conference, but rather are of behavioral or covenantal nature.
In practice, a CRAC is generally struck to address any participants who may have broken the CUC Youth Safety Rules, and or in some other way transgressed the Conference community’s covenant. In doing so the members of the CRAC are asked to respond to the participants and the issue/problem they are involved in, with considered, situational consequences.
The CRAC’s purpose is not to judge or cast punishment but rather to problem solve through facilitating a “clarifying conversation” with all who are involved with the problem or transgression.
The CRAC’s ultimate goals are:
- maintaining the safety and wellbeing of the conference community
- ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the individuals involved
- facilitating a return to right relations between the individuals involved
In cases of violence and or abuse there will be zero tolerance and all adults must act as mandatory reporters of such activities.
Due process of the CRAC, must never preclude or delay the need to call Police or other Emergency Services immediately to deal with serious injuries or abuse.
If such a need should ever arise, the identified lead adult (in the case of CanUUdle this would be the CanUUdle Coordinator) must ensure that individual participant safety is always met first, as the CRAC can address the needs of the Con community at large, concurrently and/or at a later point.
Consequences chosen by a CRAC are always intended to be appropriate to the situation and tailored to the specific individuals and incidents. The hope is that both the individual(s) involved and the community as a whole will understand the relationship between the consequences and the offending behavior. The consequences that are chosen can range widely; in some situations, the CRAC conversation itself along with apologies may be all the consequences that are needed, in other situations, the appropriate consequences may include removing participants from the community (i.e. sending someone home) and recommending that those participants are denied the privilege of attending future CUC Youth Events.
For all issues brought before a CRAC, the committee must file an incident report to the CUC Youth and Young Adult Ministry Development staff with 48 hours of the CRAC meeting.
- Composition of the CRAC
- Process for Calling a CRAC Meeting
- Outline of the CRAC Decision Making Process
Composition of the Conference Rules and Consequences Committee
Below is the minimum number of members that should sit on a CRAC:
- 2 designated Youth leaders from the conference staff (these roles are often filled by 1 of the Co-Deans and 1 of the Youth Chaplains)
- 2 designated Adult leaders from the conference (this could be the identified Lead Adult of the Con, or a CUC staff person (At CanUUdle this would be the CanUUdle Coordinator or the Adult ‘Advisor’s Advisor’)
- 1 conference chaplain or minister (to provide spiritual & emotional support to the persons involved)
- Additional individuals may sit on the CRAC as deemed necessary or appropriate
Individuals who might speak to the CRAC may include:
- the person(s) who allegedly broke the conference rules/covenant
- the adult advisor(s) of the alleged rule breakers (in the case of a youth)
- the person(s) who reported the rule violation
- any person(s) who was directly harmed as a result of this rule violation
Note: Every Youth Conference will have a slightly different leadership structure. Prior to the beginning of any Youth Con, the Con staff should review these guidelines and decide on who and how many people will comprise the CRAC should the need to meet arise.
Process for Calling a CRAC Meeting
- A person reports a violation to a Con staff or any youth advisors.
- The person(s) receiving the report of the violation must make sure the Co-Dean(s) are notified of the violation.
- After consulting with the lead Adult, if there is reason enough for a CRAC meeting, the Co-Dean(s) must inform the appropriate persons (see above) that the CRAC will be meeting at a specified time and place.
It is very important to have the CRAC meeting as soon as possible after the violation is reported to ensure that the issue can be dealt with in a timely manner.
CRAC Decision Making Process
The following decision making process should be conducted with as much love, compassion, fairness and expediency as possible.
- The group nominates someone to be the facilitator for the discussion.
- The group appoints someone to take notes for the report to be filed to CUC Youth and Young Adult Ministry Development staff after the process is completed.
- The facilitator outlines the process to the rest of the group.
- The facilitator reviews the ground rules for the process:
- one person speaks at a time,
- no name-calling,
- use “I statements,”
- listen while each person speaks (no side talk), etc.
- Try to meet in a circle for more effective and less adversarial communication.
- The person reporting the violation has five minutes to explain the infraction as s/he saw it. Persons harmed by the behaviour and or other witnesses, as necessary, may also be permitted to speak at this time.
- The person(s) who allegedly broke the rules then has five minutes to explain his/her/their behavior.
- The person(s) who allegedly broke the rules, then has three minutes to ask clarifying type questions of the reporter as necessary.
- The person reporting the violation and other CRAC members then have a further five minutes to ask questions of the alleged violator(s).
At this stage, all questions should be focused on the violation, not on the consequences.
When the CRAC has heard all the relevant information, they, minus the violator(s), the reporter(s) and any victims and/or witnesses, will discuss the facts and the issue and collectively decide on the appropriate consequences and or next steps.
*If the rule violation is such that there are direct victims, these individuals should be given the opportunity to approve the consequences that are chosen by the CRAC before they are given out.
Once the consequences are decided upon, the violater(s) should be notified and after that point any announcements or apologies to the community at large should be made.
After the CRAC is concluded and the consequences have been given out, the conference Chaplain or a minister should be made available to speak with:
- the violator(s) to make sure s/he/they understand(s) that the consequence was a response to the behavior exhibited – to the rule violation – and not to them as individual(s).
- the “victim(s)” to offer supportive listening and help them with any processing
If a consequence is that a violator(s) is asked to leave the conference, her/his sponsor and one of the Co-Deans (at CanUUdle it would be the Logistics Coordinator) will immediately make the arrangements for this to happen. If parents are asked to pick up the youth, the youth will be removed from further Con activities and must stay removed from the Con community in a separate area with his/her advisor and another assigned adult until the parents or guardian arrive.
Lastly the CRAC must ensure that the incident form is filled out and given to the CUC Youth and Young Adult Ministry Development staff within 5 days of the incident.