Because some conflicts between two or more individuals may be better resolved through mediation, college community members are encouraged to consider mediation as a means of resolving disputes as often as possible.
Mediation is an avenue by which people in conflict can attempt to state their views, express their feelings, work through their issues, and arrive at a solution that is agreeable to all parties. Impartial mediators work with individuals to explore options and to achieve outcomes that meet the needs of all involved. The judicial coordinator may refer students involved in judicial matters to the Oberlin College Dialogue Center (OCDC) through the Office of the Ombudsperson.
a. Mediation is made available by the Oberlin Campus Dialogue Center through the Office of the Ombudsperson when both of the following conditions are met:
(1) Both parties agree to mediation as the appropriate means for addressing their dispute.
(2) When the violation is sufficiently minor that it would not likely result in suspension or dismissal, as suggested by precedent.
b. Requests for mediation should be filed with OCDC through the Office of the Ombudsperson.
c. Because the parties must voluntarily enter into mediation, the Ombudsperson will work with the parties to determine their willingness to participate in mediation and to verify that mediation is their choice among the alternatives provided by the college’s student disciplinary system.
d. Once the parties have agreed to mediation, the Ombudsperson will assign two mediators agreed upon by the parties to mediate the dispute and set up a date, time, and location for the session(s).
e. The only parties who will be present at the mediation session(s) will be the persons directly involved in the dispute and the mediators. During the mediation process, the mediators will:
(1) Ask the parties to relate their respective versions of the incident in question, including both factual information and feelings.
(2) Identify key issues that emerge in the first step and make these known to the parties.
(3) Seek the agreement of the parties on the issues as they have been identified or as they need to be modified.
(4) Facilitate discussion between the parties to consider each issue more completely and generate solutions for each.
(5) Work with both parties to develop a written document that will include a statement of agreement on each issue.
(6) Request that participants adhere to ground rules.
f. A statement of agreement shall become a part of the contract drawn up and signed by the parties at the completion of the mediation process. Any activity or behavior that a party has agreed to perform following the mediation shall be included in the contract. All parties must agree upon any outcome of mediation.
g. In cases referred by the judicial coordinator, the parties must give permission to have the judicial coordinator informed of the outcome. A case may be remanded to the judicial system if a mutually satisfactory resolution is NOT possible.
h. If mediation is unsuccessful, the case is remanded to the judicial system. No information from the mediation process will be used as evidence by either party.
i. A copy of the contract will not be kept by the ombudsperson and cannot be used for any formal judicial process.
j. If a party is dissatisfied with the mediation process at any stage, prior to the signing of a written agreement, that party may request that the mediation process cease.
k. Because participation in the mediation process is entirely voluntary and the final result is a product of mutual agreement, the individuals participating in the mediation own the outcome.
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