Sometimes, for whatever reason, talking with the other person just doesn’t work. That’s when you mediate.
Mediation is a more structured communication method than simply talking it out that is used to fully discuss conflict and agree on next steps.
Anyone who attempts to help two people settle their differences needs to be trusted by everyone involved as neutral. Honor Council members receive training on pro-partial communication, which involves being actively supportive of all members involved in a mediation. When you fill out a mediation request form, you will have the option to nix any of the nine members of Honor Council that you would not be comfortable with mediating a conflict. House advisers or area coordinators can also be utilized in these sorts of situations, as they’ve had some mediation training.
Each mediation is different but consists of some common elements:
- Confidentiality agreements
- An establishment of needs of all participants
- Full opportunities for each person to share their perspective without interruption
- Brainstorming and negotiating of possible solutions or next steps
- An agreement (if mediation is successful) and plans to follow up or check in if needed
Mediation is not designed to be punitive, but rather to help people think about how their actions affect others and to come up with considerate ways to live with each other. Mediation is entirely voluntary and can be broken off by any disputant at any time. In some disputes, mediation simply consists of all parties having a chance to state their views and discuss their disagreements in a structured, confidential, and non-judgmental forum.
One reason the Honor Council exists is to provide neutral mediators. The Honor Council includes students, staff, and faculty members who can assist with this step toward resolving the honor issue. Sometimes you may desire a mediator whom neither of you knows to facilitate discussion; sometimes you may just want a bit more formality. In any case, the Honor Council can help.
If mediation fails, either party retains the right to institute formal proceedings, such as an Honor Case.