Office of Student Conflict Resolution

two students are waiting

Shuttle Negotiation is an indirect conversation (facilitated by a non‐involved party) between two or more parties involved in a conflict (“Disputants”).

Through Shuttle Negotiation, disputants can:

  • “Tell their story well” by sharing privately about their thoughts, feelings and experiences related to the conflict.
  • Consider what actions could meaningfully resolve the conflict.
  • Explore the possibility of negotiated resolution by exchanging proposed go‐forward Agreements or “future stories”, with a trained facilitator as intermediary.
  • Negotiate a mutually agreeable solution that resolves the dispute.

Who’s involved?

  • Disputants – the parties involved in a conflict.
  • Facilitator(s) – Student or professional staff members from the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (“OSCR”)

How does it work?

In a typical Shuttle Negotiation:

  • When all disputants have agreed to participate in Shuttle Negotiation, OSCR will arrange for all parties to meet privately with the facilitator.
  • The first meeting begins with a brief review of participant expectations. Each disputant is invited to “tell their story well”: sharing their thoughts and feelings about the conflict at issue. Facilitators meet with each disputant privately to ensure that each person has the opportunity to tell their story well, rather than responding to the other disputants’ stories.
  • The facilitator then helps each disputant explore needs, desires, and options with regard to what they would like the “future story” to be.
  • In weekly meetings with the facilitator, each disputant then drafts a proposed Agreement that sets the conditions that best address and resolve the conflict.
  • The facilitator then circulates draft proposals until parties have arrived at a written Agreement that is acceptable to all and that meaningfully meets their needs.
  • If disputants choose to create an Agreement, the facilitator can assist with drafting.

What are the benefits of using Shuttle Negotiation to resolve complaints?

  • Shuttle Negotiation may be desirable when parties prefer not to have direct contact with one another.
  • Facilitators are multipartial, rather than impartial or neutral. Multipartiality means that facilitators "can show participants that there is more than one way to view a conflict"  (Wilgus & Holmes, 2009).
  • For complaints that may also constitute violations of the Statement, successful resolution using Shuttle Negotiation means that the Respondent does not incur a disciplinary record.

Works Cited

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.