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SVSEF Policies

Student Ethics

It is our expectation that students and their parents will follow the Rules and Guidelines for participation in SVSEF and will abide by the following ethics statement :

Student researchers are expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Scientific fraud and misconduct are not condoned at any level of research or competition. Such practices include but are not limited to plagiarism, forgery, use or presentation of other researcher’s work as one’s own, and fabrication of data. Fraudulent projects will fail to qualify for competition in affiliated fairs and the Intel ISEF.


SVSEF is committed to providing an environment for students, and volunteers free of harassment of any kind. SVSEF will not tolerate harassment of students, volunteers, or anyone else associated with the South Valley Science and Engineering Fair.


Unacceptable Conduct

Any harassing conduct that interferes with a student’s or volunteer’s ability to participate in SVSEF or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for a student or volunteer is unacceptable.

Harassment may be verbal, visual, or physical in nature. Specific examples of prohibited harassing conduct include, but are not limited to: slurs, jokes, statements, notes, letters, electronic communication, pictures, drawings, posters, cartoons, gestures, unwelcome physical contact, assault, or persistent, repeated requests for exceptions to fair rules, policies, or guidelines.



Students who violate this policy may have their projects removed from competition or awards rescinded. Harassment by parents may result in their child’s project being removed from competition or awards rescinded.


Volunteers, including judges and committee members, who violate this policy will be asked to leave SVSEF and will be removed from our list of volunteers. A committee member who is found to have violated this policy will be removed from the Board.

Reporting Incidents of Harassment

If you feel that you have been harassed or feel you have witnessed harassment, please report the incident to any member of the SVSEF Board of Directors.


A subcommittee of the Board of Directors will investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve the issue sensitively, promptly and effectively and, if warranted, take appropriate corrective action. Every effort will be made, to the extent possible, to maintain confidentiality.

Procedure for Filing a Concern/Suggestion

  1. Send a signed, written message describing the suggestion or concern to the fair manager or a committee member of SVSEF.

  2. If the initial response is not adequate, please request clarification from the appropriate subcommittee.

  3. If response is still not adequate, please request discussion time at a future SVSEF Board of Directors meeting.

  4. If you are knowledgeable on the question/issue, please attempt to answer. Please blind copy the appropriate committee members. If you are not knowledgeable, please forward to the appropriate board/committee member to answer.

  5. If the issue does not appear to be addressed or resolved, the appropriate subcommittee will review the issue/responses and provide additional information, copying the fair manager or designated SVSEF Board of Director’s recipient.

  6. If the issue is still not resolved and board meeting time is requested, the subcommittee provides history and background and recommended guidance.

Judges' Policies

Judge Etiquette

Please conform to the following rules to assure a good judging experience for all judges:

  • Judges should not break in with questions or comments while another judge is interviewing a student. Wait until the interview is completed.

  • Interview projects for no more than 10 minutes. Set a timer on your phone. Be aware of other judges waiting to speak to a student.

  • If another judge’s interview lasts more than 10 minutes, ask the judge if he or she is about to finish.

  • Do not correct or criticize another judge in front of the students.

Conflict of Interest

A judge may not judge projects for which they have a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest arises in the science fair when a judge has competing interests or loyalties that can interfere with their objectivity.


Judges must identify any student participating in the fair who:


  • is related to themselves or is a close family friend,

  • is or was a student of theirs or was a student at their school,

  • was mentored or otherwise advised by them on their current project, or

  • is the child of a close business associate.

If a judge is assigned to a group of projects that includes a conflict of interest described above, he or she must notify the Fair Manager immediately for re-assignment or
other adjustment.


Judges should refrain from talking to their children, children’s friends or teacher-chaperones during the judging period to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest.

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