As part of the University’s Living, Well-Being, and Belonging initiative, Student Accountability and Restorative Practices (SARP) is committed to cultivating our campus community by building connections, fostering empathy, and facilitating meaningful conversations grounded in restorative justice principles to promote accountability, learning, healing, and growth. SARP utilizes restorative practices that come from the larger theoretical framework of restorative justice. The core philosophy behind restorative justice considers the importance of harms created or caused during a conflict or violation, the needs of those impacted by the conflict or violation, the obligations of the individual who created the harm, and engaging community members who might be directly or indirectly affected by the harm. By utilizing restorative practices, we hope to encourage and support students to take active accountability for their actions, to address the harms created, and work within our campus community to repair and heal any harm created by misconduct. Restorative processes can be requested by students, student organizations, or community members as one of the resolution options. Typically, before parties come together for a restorative process, an intake meeting will be held in which a SARP staff will determine whether the conflict, harms, and the participant(s), are a good fit for a restorative process and if so, the most appropriate method of response. However, the facilitator(s), in consultation with the Director of SARP or designee, reserve the right to alter this procedure in order to uphold the intent of the restorative practices process. If it is determined a restorative process will be pursued, the following applies to the restorative practice process:
  • In cases where there was, or may have been, a policy violation, a restorative process is not intended to replace the criminal, civil, or SARP disciplinary processes. A restorative process at times can happen before, after, concurrently, or as an alternative to the disciplinary process for the resolution of student violations.
  • If a restorative process is to be utilized in lieu of formal resolution of charges, all parties must agree to the process as an option for addressing their concerns.
  • All parties will have an opportunity to help develop expectations and agreements for the process.
  • Restorative Practices processes where participants meet face-to-face will include time for all parties to collaborate in order to determine what the Respondent needs to do to address the harms and restore the needs of those involved, to the best extent possible. This results in a formal written agreement between all parties of the Respondent’s obligations. If the parties cannot come to an agreement regarding outcomes and obligations, the complainant may pursue their complaint through the SARP disciplinary process if alleged policy violations existed prior to the restorative process.
  • Participants have the right to withdraw their participation in a restorative practices process at any time prior to a written formal agreement being signed by all parties.
  • Complainants maintain the right to withdraw their participation in a restorative practices process and pursue alleged policy violation(s) through the SARP disciplinary process at any time prior to a formal written agreement being signed, if potential policy violation(s) existed prior to the start of the restorative practices process.
  • Upon signing the formal written agreement regarding the outcomes and obligations required by the respondent, the complainant may not pursue alleged policy violations through the disciplinary process unless the respondent does not fulfill the outcome(s) and obligation(s) stated in the formal written agreement. The formal written agreement outcomes and obligations, once signed, are final, and are not appealable.
  • All parties taking part in a process may request to have other individuals participate in the process. The request will be reviewed by the SARP staff and will be denied or approved based on the needs of the process and potential for harm to be created.
There are numerous options of restorative processes that can engage all stakeholders, including but not limited to, apology letters, conflict coaching, restorative conversations, shuttle negotiation, restorative conferences or restorative circles. The context and the needs of those involved will be taken into consideration when determining how best to repair and address the harms caused by a given conflict.

Process Steps

There are several steps in the restorative process, beginning with the referral and ending with a debrief or exit meeting. This process can range from a few days, to a few weeks, depending upon the number of people involved. The context and the needs of those involved will be taken into consideration when determining how best to repair and address the harms caused by a given conflict. 1. Referral: Students, faculty, staff, or other community members may refer a case to SARP. This case can be the result of an actual student conduct violation as outlined in the handbook, or can be the result of a conflict or harm created that is not in direct violation of the student code of conduct. Types of Referrals:
  • Self-referral
  • Sanctioned referral
  • Campus referral
2. Intake Meeting: After the referral, the individuals will meet with a SARP staff and a co-facilitator. This type of pre-work is a very important step in the process because it allows us to hear everyone’s perspective and story regarding the conflict or situation. The SARP staff holds the right to pause or suspend the process if they feel it is not safe or healthy for any of the participants involved. During this meeting we ask questions, like “What happened? Who was harmed? What were the impacts? What needs to happen to make things right? 3. Determine Restorative Plan of Action: Based on the information provided at the pre-conference, a restorative plan of action is developed and the best approach to address the situation and harm(s) is recommended. 4. Facilitate Outcomes: This could involve a face-to-face approach, written apology letter, or alternative outcome. See our approaches below for a more detailed understanding of processes. 5. Monitoring the Completion of Outcomes: If applicable, the participants may be required to take action steps to address the situation and/or to repair any harms created.

Restorative Circle Processes

Restorative circle processes involve all parties coming together to share stories and learn more about harms created, impacts of harms, and ways to repair the harms. Participants assigned to participate in a circle should plan to be there for about 2 hours—but sometimes the conversation is longer. This process usually involves larger participant size (4+ individuals). In a circle process, students are encouraged to be open and honest about their perspectives about the conflict, how they have been harmed, how they think others might have been harmed, and to come up with their own solutions on how to fix the harm created. All students sit in a circle and take turns participating and sharing their perspectives. Often, support persons and community members can also be present to provide their input as well. A circle process can be the result of a sanction from the Student Code of Conduct resolution process or self-referral.

Restorative Conversations

Restorative conversations usually involve two or more students in a facilitated-like setting. If students are unable to work out interpersonal conflict on their own, a facilitated conversation provides a space where a trained facilitator can help students work through the harm, while also ensuring the students have full say in the process and desired outcomes.

Restorative Conferences

A restorative conference is a facilitated conversation with more than two individuals or with a group of individuals in which a facilitator(s) holds a space for the parties to engage in productive conversation regarding issues and harms. Conferences are typically designed to produce or work toward a set of agreements.

Conflict Coaching

Conflict coaching is a one-on-one meeting that allows the student to be empowered and prepared to manage conflict or difficult conversations on their own. A SARP staff or a trained facilitator will provide the necessary tools, guidance, and support for students to be able to engage in and productively resolve conflict. Conflict coaching may be used to:
  • resolve a dispute (past, present)
  • prevent an unnecessary dispute
  • prepare for a conflict conversation
  • generally improve competency in conflict management

Other Approaches

Not every restorative referral will result in a process or face-to-face outcome. A SARP staff will assess whether or not a referral will occur and whether or not an individual will participate. It is our goal to avoid additional harm through the process. There are other options which include, but are not limited to, apology letters, reflection paper or shuttle processes. These approaches may serve as a single approach or as a supplement to a recommended process. Shuttle processes consist of separate, alternating facilitated meetings between the facilitator(s) and each individual to discuss perspectives in order to identify harms experienced, and meet the needs of the harmed individual. In a shuttle process, participants would only interact with each other indirectly through the facilitator(s) and would not meet face-to-face for a facilitated conversation unless desired and agreed upon by the parties. This process would conclude with the development of obligations or mutually agreed outcomes. Details of the restorative process are kept confidential by SARP staff members and trained facilitators to the extent permissible by law, except for a brief report from the facilitator to any referring party and the appropriate administrator(s) that an agreement has been signed by the parties. The facilitator will also report to the above parties if an impasse is reached, and no agreement is forthcoming. This permits further exploration of other options for resolution of the conflict. However, if a threat to the health, safety or security of any member of the university community becomes a concern to the facilitator, they will inform the parties that appropriate authorities must be notified. EFFECTIVE DATE: AUGUST 21, 2020 UPDATED: AUGUST 8, 2021

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Student Accountability & Restorative Practices (SARP)

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