University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program

Chapter 3: Affirmative Action and Civil Rights

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I. Introduction

The 4-H Youth Development Program (4-H YDP) must ensure that its policies and procedures open doors and create opportunities for all youth. Affirmative action/nondiscrimination requires special efforts on the part of 4-H YDP staff, expansion and review committees, adult volunteers and youth participants to achieve this goal. The success of the affirmative action/nondiscrimination program is dependent upon sensitizing 4-H YDP staff, adult volunteers and members to physical, emotional and cultural differences and making sure that personnel interpret policies and procedures in a way that make minority and disabled youth and their families feel welcome. This section provides an overview of affirmative action/nondiscrimination as it relates to the 4-H YDP. For more information refer to ANR Administrative Handbook Section 603, Programmatic Compliance.

II. Commitment to Diversity

Diversity means differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice and other human differences. Diversity in the 4-H YDP is a goal and a source of strength for the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR). While nondiscrimination, equal opportunity and affirmative action in personnel practices and program delivery have a basis in legal mandates, valuing diversity is a broader concept evolving from these principles. Valuing diversity is a societal and organizational advantage. ANR will continue its efforts to achieve diversity in its workforce and among its clientele and to foster an environment in which diversity is understood and valued.

III. Accessibility of Programs

A. 4-H Members and Adult Volunteers with Disabilities

All aspects of every 4-H YDP must be designed to meet the needs of and to be accessible to all participants without discrimination. Reasonable accommodations must be made to allow members and adult volunteers with disabilities to participate. 4-H YDP staff must review and, if appropriate, adjust program teaching methods, subject matter content, and meeting places and times to assure accessibility of programs.

B. Inclusions

The policies and procedures included in this Handbook are meant to be inclusionary and should not be used to exclude youth members. The 4-H YDP emphasizes youth development and educational experiences that promote safety, relationship building, youth engagement, community involvement, skill building and learning.

C. Educational Goals

Policies, procedures and rules must relate to the educational goals of the 4-H YDP. 4-H YDP staff must examine policies, procedures and rules, especially those set at the local level, to ensure that youth members are not arbitrarily excluded from the educational experience.

IV. Nondiscrimination/Affirmative Action Policy

A. Policy

  1. It is the policy of the University of California (UC) and the UC Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person in any of its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, pregnancy (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth), physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services (as defined by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), as well as state military and naval service. This policy is intended to be consistent with the provisions of applicable state and federal laws and University policies. See  4-H Practices for Inclusion of Individuals FAQ , 4-H Practices for Inclusion of Individuals FAQ (Spanish) .

  2. University policy also prohibits retaliation against any employee or person in any of its programs or activities for bringing a complaint of discrimination or harassment pursuant to this policy. This policy also prohibits retaliation against a person who assists someone with a complaint of discrimination or harassment, or participates in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a complaint of discrimination or harassment. Retaliation includes threats, intimidation, reprisals, and/or adverse actions related to employment or to any of its programs or activities.

  3. In addition, it is the policy of the University and ANR to undertake affirmative action, consistent with its obligations as a Federal contractor, for minorities and women, for persons with disabilities, and for covered veterans. The University commits itself to apply every good faith effort to achieve prompt and full utilization of minorities and women in all segments of its workforce where deficiencies exist. These efforts conform to all current legal and regulatory requirements, and are consistent with University standards of quality and excellence.

  4. In conformance with Federal regulations, written affirmative action plans shall be prepared and maintained by each campus of the University, including the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Such plans shall be reviewed and approved by the Office of the President and the Office of the General Counsel before they are officially promulgated.

  5. Inquiries regarding the University’s equal employment opportunity policies may be directed to the ANR Affirmative Action Director University of California, Davis, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2801 Second Street, Davis, CA 95618, (530) 750-1397.

B. State and Federal Laws

UC ANR policy is intended to be consistent with the provisions of applicable State and Federal laws. Inquiries regarding UC ANR’s nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the ANR Affirmative Action Director, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2801 Second Street, Davis, CA 95618, 530-750-1397.

V. Nondiscrimination Statement

UC ANR Office of Diversity & Inclusion requires that a nondiscrimination statement appear on printed information used in the 4-H YDP. The constitution and bylaws of each 4-H volunteer management organization (VMO) (e.g., council) and unit (e.g., club) must also include the current ANR nondiscrimination statement. For the most current statement and requirements refer to the ANR Administrative Handbook Section 603, Programmatic Compliance found on the UC ANR website.


VI. Expansion and Review (E&R) Committees

A. Purpose

  1. Because of its unique nature, special compliance requirements apply to the 4-H YDP. A positive action plan is required to ensure balanced expansion of the 4-H YDP on a nondiscriminatory basis. The plan requires that each county must have a 4-H YDP expansion and review function.

  2. It is the function of 4-H YDP Expansion and Review Committee (E&R Committee) to help expand 4-H YDP opportunities for youth, adults and families, to help strengthen approaches to 4-H YDP delivery and to add quality to the educational process. The expansion and review function can be vested in a Volunteer Management Organization (VMO) or in an E&R Committee.

  3. The hallmark of Cooperative Extension (CE) has been and continues to be the direct involvement of local people in program determination, implementation and assessment of effectiveness. Individuals charged with expansion and review can help 4-H YDP staff outline a positive action plan that identifies long-term 4-H YDP goals, organizes special committees and takes steps to meet nondiscrimination standards.

  4. The E&R Committee should help the 4-H YDP staff delineate geographic boundaries of communities and 4-H service areas; determine what type of 4-H YDP units are needed within such areas; and recruit volunteers (adult and youth) to provide leadership.

  5. After programs are initiated, the expansion and review function should continue as part of the county 4-H YDP organizational system, expanding the 4-H YDP in a balanced manner that includes attention to criteria such as age, sex, locale (rural or urban), disability, minorities and varied needs and interests of youth within the county. Those individuals who are charged with expansion and review should meet regularly, review and report progress periodically and recommend programming changes when needed.

  6. Such recommendations might include modification of 4-H YDP geographic areas to facilitate overall 4-H YDP operations and delivery of services. E&R committee reports should be filed annually with the county director and VMO.

B. Membership and Activity

  1. Members should include representatives of different ethnicities (minority groups), 4-H members and other youth from various geographic areas of the county and persons who know the county and its communities well.

  2. The composition of the group should reflect the diversity of gender, ethnicity and ability/disability within the county. The group should also represent the membership of the 4-H VMO. Approximately one-third of the members should be senior 4-H members.

  3. The county 4-H YDP expansion and review function is a permanent part of each county 4-H YDP organizational system, interfacing with other planning and advisory committees.

  4. The individuals charged with expansion and review must meet as a group at least once per year to be considered active. The VMO executive committee can function as the E&R committee if group membership meets the above criteria.

  5. The annual responsibilities of the E&R committee are to:
    1. Plan and implement an effective outreach program.
    2. Review geographic boundaries of clubs.
    3. Review one race units and the communities they serve.
    4. Review constitution and bylaws of clubs.
    5. Provide diversity training annually in cooperation with 4-H YDP staff.

VII. Geographic Areas

A. Defining Geographic Areas

Geographic areas are program service areas in a county. They are delineated by the following general criteria:

  1. Geographic areas cannot be formed based on race, color, or national origin.

  2. Geographic areas should be formed with boundaries that have a high degree of permanence, such as school districts, rivers, ridges, roads, and county borders.

  3. Geographic areas should be limited to a size that permits effective planning and management of the program, 4-H special interest groups, and/or 4-H units.

  4. Geographic areas should reflect the manner in which the program is conducted.

  5. Geographic areas provide a basis for planning and implementing programs.

  6. These geographic areas can help to identify one-race 4-H units. Such units, when they do not reflect the diversity of their particular community, need to make “All Reasonable Efforts” (ARE) to diversify the membership.  

B. Under-served Communities

Geographic areas can help to identify communities not being reached effectively by the 4-H YDP.

VIII. One-race Units

A. Identification of Units

A one-race unit is any unit in a multi-racial or ethnic geographic area whose members are all of one race or ethnicity (e.g., all white, all Hispanic, all Asian, etc.). To ensure that the 4-H YDP operates on a non-discriminatory basis, the following actions shall be taken:

  1. Identify each 4-H unit by the ethnic composition of its actual membership, the demographics of its potential membership and its location on a county map.

  2. Identify each unit that is located in an area with a multiracial potential clientele, but that has members of only one race. Take steps to ensure that the membership of each of these units becomes multiracial in composition.  Assistance to those 4-H units that remain all-of-one-race must be discontinued, unless it is established that, in accordance with ANR Administrative Handbook Section 603, Programmatic Compliance, All Reasonable Efforts (ARE) have been made to recruit individuals of racial groups that are not represented.

  3. Develop and implement policies and procedures that ensure that all new 4-H units reflect the racial and gender composition of the potential clientele.

  4. Review the bylaws and constitutions of 4-H units to ensure that membership is open to all youth, irrespective of race, gender, color, national origin, or disability.

  5. Counties that have one-race units must demonstrate annually that they have made All Reasonable Efforts to diversify these units. 4-H units not meeting this requirement within the program year will be disbanded.

    1. There is one exception to this rule. Membership of 4-H units on Native American Indian Reservations can be restricted to those individuals living on the reservation.

B. Documentation of Efforts

Documentation of the efforts made must be certified by the 4-H YDP staff most directly involved and forwarded by the county director to the Office of Diversity & Inclusion for determination as to compliance. Such documentation shall be retained for review purposes.

IX. Constitutions and Bylaws

A. VMO and Unit Templates

Constitutions and bylaws must be used in all 4-H VMOs (e.g., councils) and units (e.g., clubs). These constitutions and bylaws must contain the current ANR Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Statement. Refer to Listing of all forms & support documents for the Bylaws and Constitution Templates listed under Chapter 8, 4-H VMO and Unit Management for the required language.

B. VMO Approval

The VMO constitution and bylaws must be approved by the 4-H YDP staff, county director and State 4-H YDP Director.

C. Unit Approval

All unit constitutions and bylaws must be approved by the 4-H YDP staff and county director.

D. State VMO Approval

State VMO constitutions and bylaws must be approved by the State 4-H YDP Director.

E. Retention of Constitution and Bylaws          

A copy of the constitution and bylaws for each VMO and unit must be on file with the county UCCE office and a copy of the constitution and bylaws for the state VMO must be on file in the State 4-H Office. Any changes in 4-H VMO or unit constitutions and bylaws must be submitted to appropriate bodies for approval.

F. 4-H YDP Staff Responsibilities

4-H YDP staff should examine the constitutions, bylaws and operating procedures of the county VMO and units to ensure that there are no:

  1. Constraints to membership, such as dues, uniform or record book requirements.
  2. Required attendance of parents at meetings.

G. Non-Compliance

If constitutions or bylaws are not in compliance, the 4-H YDP staff should call the 4-H VMO or unit adult volunteers and other officers together to work on bringing the documents into compliance. If the group is unable to reach a positive resolution, the 4-H YDP staff will find the VMO or unit to be non-compliant and it will be disbanded or the adult volunteers' appointments will be terminated.

X. All Reasonable Efforts (ARE)

A. Definition

  1. USDA requires that 4-H membership reflect the race, ethnicity and gender composition of California's counties. Annually, USDA requires 4-H clubs, camps and other 4-H Units that recruit and enroll 4-H youth and adult volunteers, to conduct all reasonable efforts, to invite youth and families to participate. 
  2. As participation in UC ANR and the 4-H YDP is voluntary, it is possible to be in compliance with affirmative action/nondiscrimination requirements in instances when parity has not been achieved by demonstrating All Reasonable Efforts.

  3. It is important to recognize that ARE is not merely an incidental effort to increase participation by underserved clientele. To meet the ARE standard, an objective analysis must support the conclusion that the efforts in question could reasonably be expected to achieve parity of participation. This generally requires demonstrating that efforts were focused on, and appropriate to, eliminating under-served clientele and these efforts were not merely incidental to that goal. In most cases, it is necessary to design such efforts to fit the specific situation, and to redesign them until parity is achieved.

B. Outreach Methods

The following are approved outreach methods for civil rights compliance:

  1. Personal visits and interactions: Personal visits and live interactions to invite youth and adults to participate in 4-H, informing them of dates and times of program activities and specific invitations for them to attend and participate. (e.g., face-to-face, phone calls, text messages, direct messages, social media messages/chats).

  2. Personal letters or emails: Personal letters or emails to invite youth and adults to participate in 4-H, informing them of dates and times of program activities and specific invitations for them to attend and participate. May be in hardcopy or electronic format.

  3. Promotional materials: Promotional material to invite potential clientele to participate in programs. Examples include newsletters, posters, and flyers distributed in a "mass mailing" type of process. May be in hardcopy or electronic format. (Does not include communications to existing members, such as a 4-H club newsletter.)

  4. Mass media: Mass media to invite youth and adults to participate in 4-H. Examples include press releases, public service announcements, radio and/or television appearances, social media, and other web-based avenues. May be in electronic and print outlets.

C. Responsibilities and Reporting Process

  1. All Club Leaders, Camp Directors, Unit Leaders, and Community Education Specialists (CES) conduct outreach using at least three of four outreach methods. Submit paper or digital copies of materials to the CES to be stored for three years (e.g., flyers, brochures, posters, sign-in sheets, social media ads, newspaper copies, emails, radio ads).

  2. Annually by September 15th, all 4-H Club, and Unit Leaders, and 4-H Camp Directors are required to complete the California 4-H Outreach Methods Documentation survey at: Print or digital copies of source materials for outreach efforts must be submitted to the county 4-H CES and retained for 3 years per Records Retention Guidelines.

  3. The 4-H Regional Program Coordinator (or CES supervisor) works with the 4-H CES to ensure all 4-H clubs, camps and units complete the survey. 

  4. The UC ANR Office of Diversity & Inclusion reviews information to ensure appropriate documentation. 

    1. Note: 4-H Youth Development Advisors report outreach activities directly to UC ANR Project Board.

D. Parity of Participation

In cases where Parity of Participation (refer to ANR Administrative Handbook Section 603, Programmatic Compliance), has not been achieved for programs that serve external clientele, responsible 4-H YDP staff are required to bring those programs into compliance by meeting the ARE standard. This includes developing and implementing specific actions designed to achieve parity and maintaining appropriate documentation of those actions.

XI. Disability Policy

A. Policy

All ANR programs, including 4-H YDP, are federally mandated under the Americans with Disabilities Act (1991) to ensure that all programs are accessible to persons with disabilities. ANR policy addresses any individual with a disability who is connected with the 4-H YDP: a youth, a parent, a volunteer or committee member, and a 4-H YDP staff or UCCE county office staff person.  See Disability Definitions .

B. Implementation

Based on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines for the implementation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, ANR has developed guidelines for conducting all 4-H YDP activities at the local and statewide level. 4-H YDP staff are responsible for implementing these guidelines.

  1. 4-H YDP staff and adult volunteers may not exclude from any program or activity any person on the basis of disability.

  2. 4-H YDP staff shall take into account the needs of such persons in determining the services to be provided under the program or activity. When feasible, all efforts are to be made to encourage and provide reasonable accommodations for youth with disabilities in 4-H YDP activities.

  3. Where existing UCCE office facilities are inaccessible, 4-H YDP staff and adult volunteers may make program services that are normally provided at those sites available to disabled persons through other methods such as meeting in accessible locations, making home visits or communicating through writing, telephone calls and audiotapes or other available media.

  4. For activities held in publicly owned facilities outside of UCCE, 4-H YDP staff shall select accessible facilities wherever possible.

  5. For activities held at privately-owned facilities such as homes and farm buildings, 4-H YDP staff shall select accessible facilities whenever disabled persons requiring such accessibility are participating, have expressed an interest in participating or are likely to participate.

  6. If accessible facilities are unavailable or inappropriate to the nature of the activity, 4-H YDP staff shall use other methods to deliver program benefits to disabled members, such as meeting in accessible locations, making home visits or communicating through writing, telephone calls, audiotapes or other available media.

  7. While some activities such as field trips cannot be held at sites accessible to those with disabilities, alternatives such as audio- or video-taping of the activity should be explored.

  8. Upon request and when feasible, 4-H YDP staff will make program materials accessible to a disabled member with sensory or mental impairments, if that member has indicated a desire to participate. For example, materials could be made available through means such as Braille, audiotapes, readers, large-print formats, simplified versions, written scripts or sign-language interpreters.

  9. 4-H YDP staff and adult volunteers will make reasonable accommodations to provide camping activities that are accessible to disabled members. The type of disability accommodations needed should be identified through camp applications. Accommodations may need to be made for health problems, physical limitations, dietary restrictions and medical requirements. When feasible, reasonable accommodations will be supplied at no additional cost to the member.

  10. Outreach activities to disabled members and adult volunteers will be conducted as part of the regular program. Targets of outreach should include state rehabilitation, education and advocacy agencies for disabled people. Interagency efforts should be cultivated and specific outreach efforts and contact sources should be identified.

  11. All UCCE county publications, meeting flyers, newsletters and other materials should advertise that the county offices and meeting sites are accessible to individuals in wheelchairs, if in fact they actually are; they should also contain a statement informing individuals that if they require a disability accommodation to call the county office and make their request.  To indicate that the meeting location is accessible to wheelchairs, use the "wheelchair accessible" logo. When appropriate, other available accommodations should be specified. The Americans with Disabilities Act website outlines some appropriate accommodations.

  12. The 4-H YDP Incentives and Recognition Program is to be adapted so that members with disabilities can participate in 4-H YDP awards competitions. These adaptations might include "partnering" in awards competitions and providing assistance on record keeping.

C. Individuals who need to request an ADA accommodation

Individuals who need to request an ADA accommodation in order to participate in 4-H sponsored events and activities can complete a 4-H ADA Accommodation Request Form . UCCE County 4-H YDP staff should fill out the ADA Accommodation Request for Material/Equipment Form and submit to the Office of Diversity & Inclusion when requesting materials, equipment and services or financial support from ANR. All requests should be retained for review purposes. 

D. For more assistance

For more assistance with providing appropriate experience for youth or volunteers with disabilities refer to the UC ANR Affirmative Action Resources or Youth With Special Needs - Leaders Handbook (2013) .

XII. Private, Non-public Cooperating Groups

A. Policy

CE is not allowed to extend "significant educational assistance" to private, non-public groups that discriminate in their membership on the basis of race, color, sex, handicap, religion, age, sexual orientation or national origin. Significant educational assistance is defined as any involvement with a group beyond making an introductory presentation to the group about the 4-H YDP and its opportunities.

B. 4-H YDP Staff Responsibility

It is the responsibility of 4-H YDP staff to:

  1. Notify cooperating groups annually about this policy.

  2. Verify that cooperating groups do not discriminate in their membership by annually obtaining a signed Assurance of Nondiscrimination letter from cooperating groups.

  3. Stay abreast of current events that may publicize or bear upon the membership policies of cooperating groups.

  4. Discontinue service to groups that discriminate in their membership.

C. Acceptance of Gifts

The 4-H YDP may accept gifts if there are no restrictions attached to accepting the gift. See Chapter 9, VII, G. Gifts to 4-H Units and VMOs.

XIII. Diversity Training/Orientation for Volunteers

A. Nondiscrimination Brochure

4-H YDP staff must provide the Volunteers and UC Nondiscrimination Policy brochure to adult volunteers as part of the adult volunteer orientation training.

B. Training

4-H YDP staff are encouraged to provide adult volunteers with diversity training to explain concepts such as nondiscrimination, affirmative action and accessibility. 4-H YDP staff should familiarize adult volunteers with applicable UC and ANR policies and procedures and provide written materials to help adult volunteers with All Reasonable Effort documentation compliance efforts (see 4-H Outreach Methods Documentation ), answer commonly-asked questions and identify resources to help adult volunteers solve problems as they arise.

C. Training Resources

The Office of Diversity & Inclusion can provide training materials to ANR personnel. See the ANR Affirmative Action Resources Library and ANR Affirmative Action Training.


XIV. Program Civil Rights (Discrimination) Complaint Procedure

Discrimination complaints are to be treated seriously. Action must be taken and procedures must be followed. Title VI (Programmatic) complaint procedures establish a means for processing clientele-related affirmative action/nondiscrimination complaints involving programs and services provided by ANR. All employees of ANR have the responsibility to be familiar with these procedures, to be cognizant of the possibility of such complaints, to advise any potential complainant of his or her right to file such a complaint and, if necessary, to assist the complainant in filing a complaint. This complaint process is a federal requirement. See ANR Administrative Handbook Section 604, Program Civil Rights Complaints for more information.

XV. Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment

A. Introduction

UC ANR is committed to creating and maintaining an environment where all persons who participate in ANR programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of sexual violence and sexual harassment. Every member of the ANR community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, and that such behavior is prohibited both by law and by ANR and University policy. ANR will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation and other prohibited behavior, and will take appropriate action to stop, prevent, and remedy the Prohibited Conduct, and when necessary, discipline the Respondent. See XVI. Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures.

B. Definitions of Sexual Harassment

See UC Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy.

C. Prohibited Conduct

See UC Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy.

D. Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in the 4-H YDP

  1. Sexual violence and sexual harassment is not tolerated in the 4-H YDP. It is the responsibility of the 4 H YDP to provide an environment that is free from sexual violence and sexual harassment for all individuals who are in any way associated with the 4-H YDP.

  2. Training and other educational programs will be implemented to inform 4 H participants about sexual violence and sexual harassment and to prevent sexual violence and sexual harassment from occurring. Anyone who engages in sexual violence or sexual harassment will be subject to discipline appropriate to the offense and to his or her position within the 4-H YDP.

XVI. Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Complaint Resolution Procedure

A. Process

Individuals who are in any way associated with 4-H YDP should inform the ANR Title IX Officer when they learn of a situation involving a 4-H member, adult volunteer  or program participant which has the potential of constituting sexual violence or sexual harassment. ANR is strongly opposed to sexual violence and sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is prohibited both by law and by ANR and University policy. ANR will take whatever action may be needed to prevent, to correct and, if necessary, to discipline behavior that involves sexual violence and sexual harassment.

B. Complaints

All sexual harassment complaints must be reported to the ANR Title IX Officer. Individuals may file complaints on their own behalf or on behalf of another person. Complaints may be brought forward either in writing or verbally. See ANR Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Complaint Resolution & Procedures.

XVII. Retaliation

Reprisal or retaliation against an individual who reports sexual violence or sexual harassment, assists someone with a report of sexual violence or sexual harassment or participates in any manner in an investigation or resolution of sexual violence or sexual harassment report is a violation of ANR policy.

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