Restorative Justice in Campus Conduct

Restorative justice is a response to problematic conduct that focuses on how this conduct causes harm to people, relationships, and the community. Restorative approaches to campus conduct violations work to repair the harm caused by:

  • Including (when possible) all those impacted by the conduct violation,
  • Encouraging those who commit conduct violations to understand the impact of their actions,
  • Reintegrating those who have committed conduct violations into the campus community by providing opportunities for them to demonstrate their understanding of the harm, address personal issues, and repair the harm caused by their actions.

Restorative approaches

The following are examples of restorative approaches to campus conduct violations supported by the CDR:

Victim-offender dialogue

Victim-offender dialogue is a facilitated discussion between someone whose conduct has caused harm and those impacted by their actions. All parties are prepared in advance to take part in a structured dialogue about the harm caused. Those involved have a chance to “tell their story” and ask questions of one another. The parties then work together to develop a plan to repair the harm caused and hold the person whose actions caused the harm accountable. This plan may include the payment of restitution, the completion of meaningful community or University service, or other creative options. The goal of the plan is both to repair the harm but also to reintegrate students who have committed conduct violations into the University community.

Impact program

The CDR’s IMPACT program provides a safe and appropriate environment where students who have committed violations of the conduct code can learn and talk about the impact of offenses and explore the ways in which they can repair the harm caused by their problematic behaviors. The program takes place over two evenings: the first evening students meet as a group with facilitators to learn about the different types of harm caused by crime and take part in the viewing and discussion of a video of college students whose crime impacted the small community where they live. At the conclusion of the evening participants leave with a brainstorming worksheet to consider the questions and discussion presented throughout the course of the evening as it pertains to their own actions.

On the second night of the IMPACT program, participants meet individually with a program facilitator. They bring their completed brainstorming worksheets, on which they have written about their reactions to the first nights’ discussion; how they believe they might best repair the harm they have done to those impacted by their conduct violation, the community, and themselves; and their plan for preventing their own negative behaviors in the future. They leave the evening’s meeting with a concrete plan for how they will work to repair the harm caused by their conduct violation and transform their behavior to encourage a positive future for themselves.

Individual coaching and communication skill development

On a case-by-case basis, the CDR can provide individualized coaching for students who have committed conduct violations. This coaching focuses on an exploration of the reasons for the violation, the impact of the violation, and the development of skills needed to address personal communication and conflict management issues that may have contributed to the conduct violation.

For more information on any of these programs, please contact the CDR.