What is restorative justice at USD?
Restorative Justice (RJ) is a peaceful conflict resolution process based on the philosophy that when someone has been harmed or parties are in conflict there is an obligation to address it, make things right, and heal relationships to the best extent possible. RJ provides principles and practices to deal with complex, contentious issues, new ideas, and deeply held beliefs in a way that can be constructive and generative. Common RJ practices at USD address roommate conflicts, community disruptions such as noise and vandalism, acts of intolerance, other interpersonal conflicts, and violations of the student code of conduct.
Why does USD utilize restorative justice practices?
In light of our mission of “…creating a diverse and inclusive community, and preparing leaders dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service”, RJ creates a space for our students to cultivate leadership skills, reflect on their thoughts and actions, develop a strong moral and ethical compass through interactions, and nurture empathy and compassion for themselves and others. Restorative Justice encourages our students to be enlightened global citizens in their interactions with family members, friends, in their work and future careers, and in their communities locally, nationally, and internationally. We inspire our students to see the world through a restorative lens, looking at the needs of our communities and identifying our obligations to a world in need. After helping students to identify needs and obligations, our restorative opportunities support students in engaging restoratively with the world around them.
There are different restorative practices, how do I know which one is right for my situation?
Anyone interested in using restorative justice is encouraged to contact the Office of the Assistant Dean of Students (UC132 or 619-260-4590) and be connected to a Restorative Justice Facilitator. Facilitators are trained to work with you to examine the issue and recommend possible ways of using RJ in the future. Please also see our website page listing some of the RJ Options.
I am having a roommate conflict. Can restorative justice help?
Absolutely! Roommate conflicts are perfectly natural and we want to help students effectively address their conflict in a way that is encouraging and empowering. Contact your RA or Community Director to discuss your unique situation and they can help you determine the best way forward.
I was "written up" and want to go through a restorative process, what do I do?
Great! The first step is to meet with your Hearing Officer to discuss the incident and possibility of RJ. The hearing officer will review the process with you and determine whether RJ is appropriate. To prepare, we encourage you to think about 1) Who was harmed, 2) What does he/she need, and 3) Whose obligations are these?
If I go through restorative justice will my sanctions be less severe?
RJ is designed for those who take responsibility for their actions and desire to repair, to the best extent possible, any harm caused. Sanctions that result from a restorative justice conference are agreed upon by the parties involved and are subject to review by the hearing officer. Students often find that their sanctions are not more or less severe but different and more meaningful because they actually took a role in determining them along with the impacted parties.
If I am having an issue that I want to use restorative justice for, will it then become a conduct issue?
No, restorative justice is used in many different situations and can be a support to those going through a tough situation with others or RJ can also be used in positive community building.
My organization is dealing with a difficult conflict. Can restorative justice help?
Yes! Conflict in your group is bound to happen and sometimes it is helpful to have a third party help mediate. The goal is to help your members give voice to their experience and concerns, hear and listen to other perspectives, diffuse tension, and dialogue about how to best move forward. Contact the Office of the Assistant Dean of Students (UC132 or 619-260-4590) and ask to speak with an RJ Facilitator to discuss options for your group.
I am interested in being trained as a restorative justice facilitator. How do I get involved?
We regularly have opportunities to be trained in models of restorative justice and conflict resolution. Trainings are a great way to enhance your conflict facilitation and leadership skills and are applicable to any professional goals. Contact a member of the Office of the Assistant Dean of Students for information about upcoming trainings or visit the website.
Is someone available to present on restorative justice or conflict resolution to my organization, residential community, class, or group?
We would be happy to create a presentation tailored to your specific needs. Contact a RJ Facilitator in the Office of the Assistant Dean of Students (UC132 or 619-260-4590) to discuss options.