Every day at this University I am constantly discovering new opportunities and programs available to us students. Last spring, after an unfortunate incident on campus caused by my friend and me, we had the opportunity to redeem our actions through the Restorative Justice Program at the University. At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about this program, and I am sure most students are currently unaware of what restorative justice is and how it works. @@Restorative Justice Program http://uodos.uoregon.edu/SupportandEducation/ConflictResolutionServices/RestorativeJusticeProgram/tabid/139/Default.aspx@@
The Restorative Justice Program is a group effort between Conflict Resolution Services and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards to resolve students’ infractions against the University in a manner that caters to the needs and wishes of both parties involved. @@Conflict Resolution Services http://studentlife.uoregon.edu/SupportandEducation/StudentConflictResolutionServices/tabid/134/Default.aspx@@ @@Office of Student conduct and Community Standards http://studentlife.uoregon.edu/StudentConductandCommunityStandards/tabid/68/Default.aspx@@
How this program works is it allows the offender (a student who has made a violation against the University) to cooperate with the victim (the University and anyone else affected in the incident) to produce a fair and agreeable outcome. This outcome will not be a punishment from the University but is rather a way for the offender to have a say in how they will repair the damage they’ve done and redeem their actions. This agreement is worked out in a two-hour long meeting, facilitated by a restorative justice facilitator, in which the offender and members of all affected parties sit as equal partners in determining an appropriate task for the offender.
My friend and I recently participated in such a meeting to deal with our incident from last spring. I can speak for the both of us when I say that we were more than pleased with the outcome, and it was refreshing to be seen as an equal to the University with a voice in what our consequence would be. The treatment we received during the ordeal was exceptional, and I never once felt that I was being reprimanded.
I urge all students that have committed a violation against the “Student Conduct Code” to take advantage of this wonderful program if you are eligible. Restorative justice can offer a unique and empowering way to deal with whatever problem has been caused. Personally, after being treated like a real human in this ordeal, I now have a newfound respect and appreciation for my University and what it has to offer.
Conor B. Stott