Informal and alternative dispute resolution

Informal resolution

Wherever possible, members of the university community are encouraged to use respectful and direct communication to resolve incidents or disputes informally by way of apology, conciliation, education, or consultation.

Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution processes may be appropriate to resolve some incidents or disputes by means other than formal student conduct processes. These include restorative justice and mediation.

Restorative justice and mediation processes use a neutral third-party facilitator that:

  • creates a forum for discussion;
  • holds parties to ground rules;
  • helps organize the incident or dispute into manageable issues;
  • help parties communicate with each other in an effort to recognize each other’s perspective to help resolve the conflict; and
  • guides brainstorming for possible solutions.

The facilitator does not make decisions for those involved.

Restorative justice

The Office of Student Life works with community agencies to apply restorative justice practices to assist in resolving some non-academic student misconduct incidents.

Restorative justice offers individuals with a stake in an incident (the victim, the offender, and community members) an opportunity to be supported and to voluntarily participate in a discussion of the circumstances surrounding the harm. The purpose is to understand the causes and the effects on those who have been harmed and to address the participants' needs for healing and reparation.

Restorative justice is a voluntary process. The general expectation in these processes is that all participants come in good faith with honesty, openness and willingness to engage in the process. All participants have an equal opportunity to share their perspectives. Restorative justice provides a forum for students, victims, and other affected university community members to come together to identify the harm caused by a student’s conduct and determine the best method for repairing the harm.

Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process in which parties in conflict use a neutral third-party to help them reach their own resolution. The parties have control: no one decides for them, it is informal and confidential and allows for greater learning and communication. Mediation encourages the parties to deal with important underlying issues and is often successful because it promotes trust and cooperation between parties and discourages adversarial behaviour.