UB Mediation Program
The University at Buffalo is partnering with the Center for Resolution and Justice (the "CRJ") to provide mediation services to our students, faculty, and staff. This program provides parties an avenue to resolve disputes and conflicts with the help of a neutral mediator. Upon referral, mediators from the CRJ will be available to meet with parties either on or off campus.
What is mediation?
Collaboration rather than a win-lose proposition
Mediation is a process that allows the parties to generate their own solutions to a dispute, and promotes communication and understanding in a neutral environment, to increase the chances that both parties will leave the process satisfied. While this is possible with other forms of dispute resolution, it is more likely to be achieved through mediation, because mediation encourages the parties to deal with important underlying issues. This is particularly important where the disputing parties are likely to be in an on-going relationship.
A voluntary process
Although all mediation programs function differently, mediation is most effective when the partiesí participation is of their own free will. Although coercion to some degree may sometimes be necessary to initiate the process (e.g. people may sometimes choose mediation to avoid disciplinary action), it is recommended that no one be required to participate in mediation. Some sense of choice on the part of the participant is critical.
Mediation is a generally a confidential process. Mediation is successful because the process promotes trust and cooperation between parties and discourages adversarial behavior. If parties are concerned that every word said in the mediation process may be shared or possibly be used against them, they may be unwilling to share information and invest themselves in mediation.
What types of disputes are appropriate for mediation?
The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of situations and disputes that may be appropriate for mediation:
- Roommate disagreements and other residence hall matters
- Noise complaints
- Possessions borrowed and not returned; or returned but not in itís original state
- Professor/student concerns
- Students feuding in class over joint projects
- Parking issues
- Relationship issues
- Family issues
- Stolen or mishandled property
- Off-campus housing
- Monetary disputes
- Work place issues
- Interpersonal issues
- Misunderstanding and miscommunication
- Lifestyle differences
- Student groups disputes ( either internally or between groups)
- Fraternities and sororities
What types of issues are addressed through mediation?
The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of the issues (which are often the underlying source of disputes) that may be addressed through mediation:
- How people treat each other
- Sharing space/respecting boundaries
- Communicating about problems
- Following through on promises and responsibilities
- The ways people do their work
- Arranging payments
What does the Mediation Process Involve?
The parties will meet with a neutral mediator at the Center for Resolution and Justice or somewhere on campus.
During the process time, parties have an opportunity to tell the mediator what brought them to the mediation table. The mediator will ensure that each party has the opportunity to tell his/her story completely. After both parties have had an opportunity to speak, the mediator will help the parties identify issues and separate facts from assumptions. Parties will be encouraged to talk to each other and then address the feelings, issues and concerns of the other party.
After identifying the issues, parties will engage in brainstorming. Brainstorming gives parties an opportunity to generate options for discussion that may lead to a resolution of issues that brought parties into mediation. Once parties reach common resolutions to the issues, the mediator will help them create an agreement. The agreement captures the resolution upon which the parties have agreed and acts as a contract between them.
In some instances, an agreement will not be reached after the first mediation. If this occurs, parties will have the option of meeting for another session. In the interim, parties will be asked to continue thinking about what went on during their initial mediation session to see if some kind of agreement could be reached after a period of time goes by.
Who do I contact if I am interested in participating in mediation?
If you are interested in mediating a dispute you can contact the Judicial Affairs and Student Advocacy for a referral or you can contact the Center for Justice and Resolution directly:
Center for Resolution and Justice
625 Delaware Avenue, Suite 300
Buffalo, New York 14202
Phone: (716) 362-2323