In the University community, as in any community, interpersonal conflict can occur between two or more people. Conflict can arise from circumstances such as, but not limited to, miscommunication, differing beliefs or values, and incompatible lifestyle habits in a shared campus residence. Conflict can also stem from one person’s misconduct that disrupts or harms another person. Through dispute resolution, interpersonal conflict can be sorted out or rectified, thereby supporting both the well-being of the individuals involved and the health of the University community.
Some reports of problematic conduct received by Community Expectations and Restorative Practices (CERP) reflect interpersonal conflict rather than violations of the Honor and Student Conduct Codes. Other reports received by CERP may reflect both interpersonal conflict and possible violations of University policies. When interpersonal conflict is reported, CERP may determine that informal Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) could be more effective for resolving the situation than formal student disciplinary procedures.
Alternative Dispute Resolution engages individuals in a candid discussion of interpersonal conflict and/or an incident of misconduct, including the harm it caused and ways to repair the harm. Unlike the University’s more formal student disciplinary procedures in which incident outcomes are determined by University officials, Alternative Dispute Resolution empowers both a person harmed by interpersonal conflict and/ or an incident of misconduct and a student who is responsible for that harm to participate actively in the determination of accountability outcomes.
Multiple ADR processes have the potential to result in productive, restorative outcomes that are mutually agreed upon by the process participants. Examples include an apology, conflict coaching, facilitated dialogue, guided conversations, and restorative conferences or circles. When conflict is reported, Community Expectations and Restorative Practices may suggest Alternative Dispute Resolution to the individuals involved, or a student can request that CERP consider ADR for informal resolution of the interpersonal conflict that they are experiencing.
Participation in Alternative Dispute Resolution is entirely voluntary. Before initiating an ADR process, a representative of CERP (or designee) typically conducts intake meetings with individuals involved in a conflict to determine their willingness to participate in the collaborative resolution of the dispute and the suitability of a particular ADR process. ADR can be implemented only when both the complainant and respondent agree to participate and CERP deems a particular method of conflict resolution to be appropriate to the situation.
When Alternative Dispute Resolution occurs, a representative of CERP (or designee) facilitates the identified process, maintains documents as needed, and monitors the completion of the accountability outcomes established through the restorative process.
When an Alternative Dispute Resolution process is undertaken in efforts to resolve an alleged violation of the Honor and Student Conduct Codes, implementation of the formal student disciplinary process is paused. If the ADR process is terminated for any reason, or if a restorative outcome is not agreed upon by all process participants, CERP will resolve the alleged violation by resuming formal student disciplinary procedures (see “Disciplinary Procedures”).