Four NIU staff members ready to help resolve conflicts

Four NIU staff members recently participated in a 40-hour training program at the Center for Conflict Resolution Training Center in Chicago.

Joy Mitchell, Savilli Ngovo Williams, Jocelyn Santana and Sarah Klaper completed the course which provides a hands-on, practical approach to mediation training and teaches the necessary skills to mediate in a wide variety of situations.

“We want to have more options in the conduct process that would include conflict resolution mediation and restorative justice,” said Joy Mitchell, assistant director of Student Conduct. “This training provides another tool that we can use to advocate for students.”

Mitchell said the training focused on using a facilitative model for resolution that offers the parties involved an opportunity to solve their own dispute.

“The participants are in the best position to create options and make decision about whether and how to resolve their conflict,” Mitchell said. “As mediators, we facilitate the conversation impartially while assisting both parties through the dialogue.”

In addition to learning tools to use with students, Jocelyn Santana, coordinator for Social Justice Education, said the training was an opportunity to collaborate with colleagues.

“The training offered an opportunity to engage with colleagues who are invested in restorative justice practices,” Santana said. “This allowed NIU staff, faculty, and administrators to examine how to collaboratively develop a restorative approach to community within student conduct and other areas.”

Santana said restorative justice is a powerful practice that can bring healing, resolve and education to a community.

“It is important to responsibly implement and educate the NIU community in restorative practices,” Santana said. “We look forward to collaboratively learning and building this process with the campus community.”

NIU Ombudsperson, Sarah Klaper, said there are a number of places to go on campus for assistance in resolving conflict, and NIU team members are ready to help.

“If you are having a conflict with someone on campus, seek out assistance before it feels like something that has become unmanageable,” Klaper said. “There are resources here on campus to help you with that.”

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