Mediation provides a safe and confidential space for people in conflict to:
- Talk privately about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to the conflict.
- Opportunity to surface issues related to social identity that could be contributing to the conflict.
- Consider what actions could meaningfully resolve the conflict.
- Explore the possibility of reaching a mutually agreeable solution to the conflict.
- Negotiate an agreement that resolves the dispute.
- Participants – the people involved in a conflict.
- Mediators – trained staff members from the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (“OSCR”).
How does it work?
In a typical Mediation:
- A person involved in a conflict contacts OSCR and meets privately with a member of the OSCR staff to discuss the problem. This meeting is an opportunity to ask questions, learn more about how Mediation works, and consider whether it could be used to resolve the conflict.
- With the initiating participant’s consent, OSCR then contacts the other person(s) involved in the conflict and invites them to meet for similar private consultations. (Alternatively, the initial party requesting services can invite the other people themselves if they prefer.)
- OSCR arranges for a day, time, and location convenient for all participants and mediators.
- On the day of the Mediation, all participants and mediator(s) meet to review expectations and establish values that will guide the conversation.
- Mediators may ask participants to share their story, needs, and desired outcomes for the future.
- Mediators help participants discuss the conflict and their interests and needs, while working to identify solutions to the conflict that will work for everyone involved.
- Many mediations end with participants designing a mutually agreeable plan/agreement for the future that meets each participant’s needs and that each person is willing to follow.
What are the benefits of using Mediation to solve conflicts?
- Mediators are multipartial, rather than impartial or neutral. This means they are equitably partial to everyone involved in the process. Mediators will act to ensure that all participants have the opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences about the conflict as well as what could be done to make things better. Mediators empower participants to identify solutions to the conflict that will be most helpful for them.
- Mediators are sensitive to issues related to social identity (e.g., class, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, etc.) and encourage participants to voice any concerns related to social identity that they see as contributing to the conflict.
Wilgus, J. K., & Holmes, R. C. (2009). Facilitated dialogue: An overview and introduction for student conduct professionals. In J. M. Schrage & N. G. Giacomini (Eds.), Reframing campus conflict: Student conduct practice through a social justice lens (pp.112-125). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.